An Evaluation Of Selected Interventions To Raise Participation At University Within The UK Widening Participation Policy Context

  • Elnaz Toloue Kashefpakdel

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The higher education system has undergone considerable change in the past fifty years. Increasing the number of students enrolled in university has been a focus of these changes. Despite the governments’ attempts in reducing the social class gap, there exist very large differences in those applying for r higher education. It seems despite the large socio-economic gap and the elitist image of attending university, UK government policies have not provided suitable support to reduce this gap. The level of concern over this subject has varied across different governments which could possibly have effects on young people’s transition from school across the different social classes. This thesis will address the difference between the New Labour and the Coalition governments’ level of attention to the issue of working class under-representation in universities and the policies they have developed to tackle it. It then investigates the effects of selected schemes designed to widen participation and explains how and why they are assumed to contribute to the reduction of the class gap in higher education participation. This study uses the dataset Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE) to explore the relationship between attending widening access schemes and the likelihood of attending university during the New Labour office term. In doing so, and due to the shortage of direct measurements of state-funded widening participation programs, the analysis in this research uses school engagement activities as proxies. Additionally to provide an intergenerational comparison, given the differences in both data and policy environment, this research analyses the British Cohort Study 1970 data in order to provide further insights regarding the effectiveness of the then school engagement activities on university attendance. In other words, can the activities used to widen participation then provide greater insight into the kinds of programmes that might be effective in raising working class university participation? In turn this analysis provides the basis for an in-depth policy discussion of the issue.
Date of Award12 Oct 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorHugh Lauder (Supervisor)


  • Widening participation in higher education
  • Higher education policy
  • Social Capital
  • Cultural capital
  • Work-related learning
  • Social structure
  • Individual agency
  • youth labour market
  • Economic analysis
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Disadvantaged youth
  • Aspiration
  • Academic achievement

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