University of Exeter Access Agreement 2015/16

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1 University of Exeter Access Agreement 2015/16 The University has a long tradition of working at the forefront of the widening participation agenda, particularly in terms of the use of contextual data for admissions and engaging young people in rural communities. The University has made progress against its widening participation milestones in recent years and seeks further improvements in diversifying its student body in 2015/16 and beyond. Exeter is proud of the work it does with schools and colleges in the city of Exeter, the region and nationally and is committed to extending and developing this work to ensure that all widening participation outreach programmes bring benefit to these institutions, their students and staff. The University is committed to engaging in innovative approaches to supporting access and student success and, through these, intends to make a significant contribution to the evidence base around the effectiveness of the full range of interventions at all stages of the student life-cycle, in particular, student success and progression. Our new institutional Widening Participation Strategy ( ) underpins the approaches articulated in this Access Agreement. The Strategy builds on more than a decade of innovative work to widen participation and ensure fair access, but also represents a fundamental shift of emphasis to embrace the whole of the student life-cycle from outreach, through admission, to ongoing student support and progression to postgraduate study and graduate employment. At the heart of this approach is the Widening Participation Strategy mission statement which commits the University to identifying and nurturing the potential of our students, irrespective of their background: the University aims to attract, admit and support students with the most potential to succeed at Exeter, irrespective of their background, and to ensure they progress to a fulfilling new experience on completion of their studies with us.. The WP Strategy has been developed in parallel to the University s new Education Strategy covering the same period. This has helped ensure that there are shared priorities, consistency regarding common aims and outcomes, and a coherent approach to the aims and objectives of these complementary documents. Integration of strategic priorities has been further strengthened through developments in the management and oversight of WP activity across the institution. The Widening Participation Forum has been bringing together colleagues in the academic colleges with professional services staff since October These meetings provide regular opportunities to share effective practice and ensure coherence of approaches. In spring 2014 a new Widening Participation Policy Group will be formed, taking over from the previous Admissions and Widening Participation Policy Group. This change in management and oversight underpins the commitment to a full life-cycle approach to WP and reflects the increase in resource being allocated to access and student success from additional fee income. The Equality and Diversity Manager will be part of this group to ensure integration between the implementation of the Access Agreement and the annual E&D Action Plan. The University of Exeter intends to charge Home/EU undergraduates 9000 per annum in order to better enable the University to direct resources at widening participation, fair access and improving the student experience. In support of its ongoing commitment to support student success and to providing an excellent student experience, the University of Exeter continues to invest in its facilities and services. This includes investment in student services, employability and learning and teaching spaces. Recent highlights in widening participation and fair access The University has made significant progress towards diversifying its undergraduate student intake, increasing the proportion of state school students by 3.6% since 2011/12 and the proportion of lower socio-economic students by 5.9% in the same period. The University is a lead education partner in the city of Exeter and the region, supporting innovation and improvement in partnership with Exeter College, as well as schools and colleges including the Ted Wragg multi-academy trust, the Exeter Maths School, South Devon UTC and the planned new Cranbrook School. 1

2 The University has committed to a strategic partnership with the universities of Bristol and Bath to co-fund an IntoUniversity 1 centre in South Bristol A former Exeter graduate, with the support of the University, has created the UpReach 2 programme, engaging a range of Higher Education providers in programmes to support disadvantaged students secure internships/placements while during their studies The University has established Exeter Links - a formal partnership with 29 regional aspirational 3 schools. This partnership provides a range of outreach/in-reach opportunities including talks and presentations for students/parents, CPD for teachers, workshops and subject masterclasses, campus visits and residentials. Exeter has enjoyed record take-up of places on its STAR and Realising Opportunities programmes regional and national compact schemes with facilitated entry to the University The University acts as Chair of the University s South West Widening Participation group, coordinating activity across a range of Higher Education Institutions in the region. 1. Fees, student numbers and fee income Summary: - Tuition fees across all undergraduate courses will be charged at 9000 per annum for all Home/EU students. This fee will also apply to postgraduate ITT courses (Primary and Secondary). - The University s intention is to apply annual increases to this fee, up to the maximum tuition fee level as established by Government each year. 1.1 For Home/EU students commencing courses after 1 September 2015 the University of Exeter intends to set tuition fees across all undergraduate courses at the rate of 9000 per annum. The only exceptions to these fees will be: BSc Medical Imaging (Diagnostic Radiography), for which the annual fee will be covered by an NHS Bursary (assuming continuing NHS funding); Home/EU students undertaking a full-year Erasmus study abroad or work placement, or a non- Erasmus study abroad year will be liable for fees at 15% of the maximum fee ( 1350) for that year; Home/EU students undertaking a full-year non-erasmus placement in industry (in the UK or abroad), who will be liable for fees at 20% of the maximum fee ( 1800) for that year; B Medicine/B Surgery students in the University of Exeter Medical School, where tuition fees for the fifth year of study will be met by the Department of Health. If this funding were to be withdrawn, these students will be eligible for the full fee for each year of undergraduate study. 1.2 It is the University s intention to apply annual increases to this fee, up to the maximum tuition fee level as established by Government each year. Financial support for students will also rise annually from 2015/16, in line with any increase in fees. Prices will be publicised and made readily available to prospective applicants, as outlined in section 6 below. 1.3 For the 2015/16 academic year, it is expected that the University will recruit approximately 4400 undergraduate students and 553 postgraduate ITT students (including School Direct students). This will bring the total student population for undergraduate and postgraduate ITT study to 13,600 and 553 respectively A school or college is defined as aspirational if it is ranked in the bottom 40 per cent of schools and colleges for which data is available in relation to the average score per A level entry, the average score per A level entrant or the average UCAS tariff per student. 2

3 1.4 The University admits very few part time students at either undergraduate or postgraduate ITT levels. The University therefore has no targets for the recruitment of part time students in 2015/16, either at undergraduate or postgraduate ITT levels. Applications for part time study will of course be considered and accommodated as far as reasonably possible. In such cases, part time students will be eligible for fees and financial support in the same way as all other students covered by this Agreement, but on a pro-rata basis. No part time student will be charged a fee in excess of 6750 within an academic year. 1.5 The estimated fee income above the basic level for undergraduate and postgraduate ITT courses in 2015/16 is 12.15m 2 Access and student success measures 2.1 Assessment of the University of Exeter s access and retention record The University s performance on a number of widening participation access measures at undergraduate level is continuing to improve. This is despite a period of rapid increase in typical entry requirements for the majority of courses offered at the University. The table below sets out the University s absolute performance on four widening participation measures as well as the relative performance against the rest of the sector (as described by the HESA benchmarks). These widening participation measures are used by Government and its agencies to assess the performance of universities with regard to widening participation The following information is taken from the 2012/13 HESA performance indicators published in March 2014, and sets out the University s performance in relation to the recruitment of undergraduate students from state schools, students from low participation neighbourhoods and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Information about the recruitment of disabled students is also included. The table below sets out the University s performance against the HESA WP performance indicators and the variance from the location-adjusted benchmark. Performance Indicator 2013/14 (estimated) 2012/13 Benchmark Location Adjusted Benchmark Variance from Location- Adjusted Benchmark (based on 2012/13 data) State School 69.8% 69.1% 76.3% 74.3% -5.2%pts Low Participation Neighbourhoods Unavailable 4.7% 6.5% 6.1% -1.4%pts Low SEC % 15.8% 20.9% 19.3% -3.5%pts Disability Unavailable 8.0% 5.3% N/A N/A As can be seen from the table above, the University s internal estimates with regard to the diversity of the 2013 intake are significantly ahead of its performance in 2012/13. As such, the University is keen to continue its programme of widening participation and fair access activity in order to build on this position The University is an internationally diverse institution with a growing international student and staff population. However, it is important not to disregard other widening participation measures such as the recruitment of Home/EU BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) undergraduate students. While there is no HESA performance indicator for this group, the University recognises that more needs to be done 3

4 in seeking to establish a more ethnically diverse student body amongst its Home/EU undergraduate students The University of Exeter s retention 4 rates are very high, both in absolute and relative terms. For the academic year 2011/12 the University s retention rate for young, first degree undergraduate students was 94.2%, which is 3.4% above the University s HESA student retention benchmark. It is expected that the University s performance on this indicator will be at least maintained from 2015/16 onwards However, there are specific groups for which the retention rate is lower than for the institution as a whole. Mature students consistently have the highest non-continuation rate, with students with disabilities also having a relatively high attrition rate. Non-continuation rates for state school students do not differ from the overall student body in any year; however, the rate for the low socioeconomic group has increased since 2010/11 and research will be undertaken to identify the causes of this. This is something the University is focused on addressing as a priority, and is therefore one of the main factors contributing to our increased focus on student success. Differences in Non-continuation Rates 2010/ / /13 by Group (%pts) Mature students +4%pts +7%pts +8%pts Disabled students +1%pt +4%pts +4%pts Low socio-economic background 0 +1%pt +2%pt Retention rates for the postgraduate ITT programmes are consistently good with 87% of students successfully completing their studies in While this retention rate is lower than the University s overall undergraduate retention rates and a little lower than our ITT retention rates in previous years, it is in line with the retention rates for PGCE programmes nationally (89% is the latest figure available from ), as confirmed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership. We believe this slight decrease to be temporary due to a change in the administration of the professional skills tests which have to be passed in order for the award of QTS (qualified teacher status) to be given. A small number of trainees are yet to pass these tests (they have completed all other elements of the course successfully) and so we anticipate that our final retention rate for will be slightly higher. In addition, of those who did not successfully complete, almost half interrupted their studies due to illness or personal reasons and we anticipate a good percentage of these will return to successfully complete their PGCE at a later date The University also performs well in recruiting Home/EU undergraduate students who are eligible for the Disability Support Allowance (DSA). In 2012/13, 8% of the full-time undergraduate student population was in receipt of the DSA. The 2012/13 HESA benchmark for the University was 5.3% of students in receipt of the DSA so the University is currently well ahead of this benchmark. However, the University is committed to improving its record of attracting undergraduate students with disabilities and supporting them to access DSA where appropriate, and will seek continual improvement against this benchmark through investment in outreach activity, facilities and planned levels of support when students are enrolled The University was awarded the Frank Buttle Quality Mark for its Commitment to Care Leavers in 2010 and this was renewed in While the University s record of admitting students from care backgrounds needs improvement (2 such undergraduate students enrolled in 2012), the University is committed to supporting progression to HE among care leavers through a targeted plan of outreach activity and financial support for those that progress to the University of Exeter The University of Exeter offers ITT courses at postgraduate level, where many of the traditional ways of identifying disadvantage are less, or no longer, relevant (for example home postcode, school type/performance). However, challenges still exist in recruiting a suitably diverse ITT postgraduate 4 Retention refers to the number of students projected to successfully complete their degree see HESA definition at 4

5 intake. In considering the nature of our intake, the University is governed by the requirement set for entry by the NCTL. The University performs well in recruiting male PGCE students on the Primary ITT programme - they made up 24% of the total intake in compared to the sector average of 22% 5. PGCE students from Black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds made up just 4% of the total intake in compared to a sector average of 14%. The University strives to improve its performance on these measures in future years (see targets in Section 3). 2.2 Exeter s strategic approach to access and student success The University is committed to ensuring that it plays an effective role in raising aspirations in the region and beyond. Our widening participation outreach work encourages students who can benefit from higher education as a whole as well as providing support for those who are most able to progress to highly selective universities like Exeter The Widening Participation Strategy mission statement commits the University to attract, admit and support students with the most potential to succeed at Exeter, irrespective of their background, and to ensure they progress to a fulfilling new experience on completion of their studies with us. This clearly articulates the commitment to delivering a whole student-lifecycle approach to widening participation and is a significant driver for strategic integration and coherence between different areas of the University The University continually monitors its progress with regard to fair access and acknowledges that this is where a significant amount of effort needs to be concentrated. Internal data from our Planning Office provides student demographic data each year which will provide evidence of the areas of challenge and will be used to track the impact of the measures undertaken. As well as having a central programme of targeted WP outreach activity, we are working with academic colleges to identify specific disciplines that are most challenged in terms of the profile of their intake and we will be structuring our subject-specific WP outreach activities to address these areas of need. This includes providing structured progression routes that will extend and complement our existing compact schemes (STAR and Realising Opportunities) The University has adopted a contextualised undergraduate admissions process, utilising information about an applicant s school/college to allow a more considered assessment of each application. The educational performance of an applicant s school or college is considered as part of the holistic assessment of an applicant s potential to succeed at the University and may lead to a lower offer being made. This approach is supported by internal evidence on the degree performance of applicants from aspirational 6 schools/colleges, who tend to outperform their similarly-qualified peers from higher achieving schools/colleges. The University also considers an applicant s experience of being in care as part of its contextualised admissions process, as part of its Commitment to Care Leavers (Frank Buttle Quality Mark). The University will continue to carry out rigorous research in this area, with a particular focus on whether this contextualised admissions policy could be extended to other groups of disadvantaged students for example, applicants from Low Participation Neighbourhoods (LPNs) In addition, there are areas of student success and progression that need additional support and resource will be allocated to support the University s ambition to narrow the gap in outcomes for under-represented and disadvantaged groups. Analysis undertaken to inform the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) process (managed through the University s Academic Policy and Standards team) shows that there are specific differences in the progression rates (section 2.1.6) and degree outcomes of some target WP groups. WP students who complete their UG degree, tend to do as well as, if not better than, the overall student population. However, there are some exceptions, for example mature students. 5 All sector averages are taken from the Teaching Agency s published data for the postgraduate mainstream sector. 6 A school or college is defined as aspirational if it is ranked in the bottom 40 per cent of schools and colleges for which data is available in relation to the average score per A level entry, the average score per A level entrant or the average UCAS tariff per student. 5

6 2.2.6 To direct focus and support, action plans will be drawn up at University or College level, as appropriate, to address these issues and progress will be monitored through the ASER process. In particular, the University will work with academic colleges, central professional services and the Students Guild/FXU 7 to develop appropriate transition and development plans for groups of disadvantaged students identified as at risk of withdrawing and/or failing to reach their full academic potential. Percentage of students receiving 1 st /2.1 degrees Disabled State school All students Low Socioeconomic 2010/ / / Mature On a similar theme, initial analysis of the 2011/12 Graduate Destination (DLHE) data indicates that there is a significant difference in the proportion of students from Low Participation Neighbourhoods entering graduate level destination compared to the cohort as a whole (71.6% vs 77.1%). The University is committed to ensuring that all of its students are well placed to enter graduate-level work or further study and it is important that these benefits are felt equally among all student groups. Therefore, to assist all of our students reach their full potential and reap benefits from their higher education, we will invest significant resource to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access work experience placements and internships, to raise awareness of the opportunities for post-graduate study and to encourage participation in all aspects of the employability provision within the University. Financial support will help disadvantaged students meet the costs of transport, accommodation and other living costs associated with internships and work placements costs that might otherwise prove prohibitive for such students The University has an annual action plan for Equality and Diversity which is led by the Deputy Vice- Chancellor (External Affairs and Cornwall Campus) and overseen through the Dual Assurance process 8. Where this action plan focusses on the needs of students, we will ensure that there is appropriate alignment between it and the annual WP implementation plan. Further, a member of the E&D co-ordination group will be a member of the WP Management Group which will oversee the delivery of the WP Strategy and Access Agreements. This group will be chaired by the Deputy Vice- Chancellor (Education) which will further strengthen the links between the WP Strategy and other associated policies and strategies across the University The University has campuses in both Exeter and Cornwall and widening participation activity in both areas will be carefully managed through the newly-established Widening Participation Policy Group. This will have representation from both Exeter and Cornwall (including the Students Guild and FXU) and all activity in Cornwall will be closely aligned with the University s Cornwall Strategy, which is currently in development. It will be important to ensure that the quality and breadth of activity across all campuses is consistent, while also acknowledging the specific challenges that Cornwall faces the county has been identified for European funding as a region suffering historically low participation rates in Higher Education Collaborative partnerships will be maintained and developed where these provide an effective mechanism to delivering our WP ambitions. We will focus on ensuring that, through these partnerships, we can add value and extend our activity in terms of geography, age and benefit to target groups. In particular, collaborative partnerships will underpin our work with care leavers and children in care, mature learners, younger age groups and professional development for practitioners. All collaborative partnerships, whether supporting access or student success and progression, will be evaluated to ensure that they provide the appropriate impact for the target 7 The FXU is the joint students union organisation for the University of Exeter and University College Falmouth at the Penryn Campus

7 groups and represent an effective model of delivery for the University. Further detail is provided in section Expenditure on access and student success measures Summary: - The University intends to allocate 31% of all additional fee income over 6000 (gross) for Home/EU undergraduates in 2015/16 to additional access measures - The University intends to allocate 10% of all additional fee income over 6000 (gross) for Home/EU postgraduate ITT students in 2015/16 to additional access measures - Combined with existing commitments to students who commenced their studies prior to 2015, this should provide a total of c 12.15million for additional access measures in 2015/16-61% of the money allocated for additional access measures will provide financial support for those students most in need - 39% of the money allocated for additional access measures will be used to extend the range of outreach, student success and progression activity undertaken by the University As the University continues to improve its performance on a range of widening participation indicators, it is appropriate that a substantial proportion of the additional fee income from 2015/16 is spent on additional access measures. The University intends to allocate 31% of all additional fee income over 6000 (gross) for Home/EU undergraduates who commenced their studies since 2012/13. It is not anticipated that there will be additional fee income from Home/EU undergraduates who commenced their studies before 2012, but, if such students are still enrolled, 21% of additional fee income will be allocated as agreed in previous Access Agreements. This provides a total of c 12million assuming an intake of 4400 Home/EU undergraduates in At the time of writing, the University s allocation of postgraduate ITT places in 2015 has not been confirmed by the Teaching Development Agency (TDA). We have therefore assumed allocation based on 2014 entry an overall allocation of 553 postgraduate ITT students. The University intends to allocate 10% of the additional fee income above 6000 for access measures to support its efforts to diversify its PGCE intake and enhance retention rates. 31% of Additional Fee Income over 6000 from undergraduate students 11,989,607 Ongoing commitment to access measures for undergraduate students commencing studies before % of Additional Fee Income over 6000 from postgraduate ITT students 165,900 0 Total for 2015/16 12,155, We know from internal surveys that bursary support is often critical to students capacity to sustain their studies at University. However, we also recognise that current research 9, albeit based on data collected before the introduction of the 9,000 fee limit, indicates that bursaries do not have a significant impact on retention levels. With the changes to the National Scholarship Programme (NSP) for the University has already refocused some of its anticipated spend on financial support. This follows on from a scaling back of our bursary support for students in 2014/15 to allow a greater focus on outreach and student success activity, while still ensuring students from low income backgrounds are adequately supported during their time at the University The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) has reiterated in its guidance to universities (January 2014/01), that they would like to see more money from additional fee income directed toward outreach and student success activity. Accordingly, the University has now committed to an Access Agreement model that reduces the proportion of additional fee income spent on financial support from 82% in 2012/13 to 61% in 2015/16. As the revised financial support packages work through, we anticipate 9 An interim report: do bursaries have an effect on retention rates? OFFA March

8 that the division of resource between financial support and other access measures will be rebalanced in favour of outreach, student success and progression activity to reinforce our commitment to delivering the whole student lifecycle approach The University s use of school/college performance data as part of its contextual admissions process for undergraduate students is time-consuming and complex. It is anticipated that money from additional fee income will be invested to support both implementation of this policy and further research into new ways of applying this policy for example to additional groups of disadvantaged students such as those from Low Participation Neighbourhoods (LPNs) As part of the University s new Education Strategy , there is a commitment to employ data analytics as a way of enabling the University to better understand the patterns of engagement/success amongst our students. It is expected that, in addition, the use of data analytics can identify the specific needs of our widening participation students and investment in this area will form part of the expenditure covered by this Access Agreement. The results of the work in data analytics will inform the investment in support activities undertaken by academic colleges and the Education and Quality Enhancement team The University welcomes OFFA s suggestion that greater investment is made in sustained and welltargeted outreach programmes that raise aspirations towards higher education and selective institutions such as the University of Exeter. Our internal market research with students at aspirational schools and colleges and analysis of progression data from partner schools, suggests that this is the area that is most likely to change their perceptions about Higher Education and determine their choice about whether/where to apply to university. In addition, this research highlighted the importance of employability and the availability of relevant work placements which will enable such students to have a better chance of securing employment in an increasingly competitive graduate employment market. Consequently, the University wishes to expand its provision of such activity and therefore proposes that 39% (c 4.8million) of expenditure on additional access measures from tuition fees is allocated to outreach, student success and progression activity, as detailed in section 2.4 and 2.5. This proportion is significantly higher in 2015/16 because of the refocussing of funding from fee waivers following the changes to the NSP As the University reaches steady state, with all undergraduate students paying the new tuition fee, there will be significant additional funds for student success and progression activity in future years. Modelling indicates that this additional income, combined with a lowering of financial support provision in previous Access Agreements, will result in considerably more potential for investment in areas that will support disadvantaged students, once they have enrolled. The University s efforts to expand the pool of disadvantaged applicants have been very successful, with over 5000 applications from students attending aspirational schools/colleges for entry in This compares to 3,920 for 2012 entry (an increase of more than 30%). It is therefore appropriate that a higher proportion of funding is allocated to supporting activity for those disadvantaged students who enrol at the University, to ensure that they are successful in completing their studies and progressing to postgraduate study or graduate employment. 2.4 Access measures Summary: - Targeting for undergraduate WP outreach activity will be focused on students attending aspirational schools/colleges - The University is committed to retaining regional networks for outreach activity as far as possible/appropriate - Funding will be allocated to outreach activity that provides sustained programmes, supported progression routes and regional collaboration Targeting for undergraduate WP outreach activity will continue to be focused on students attending aspirational schools/colleges, as defined in section 2.2 above. In outlining outreach activities in the paragraphs below, the University has drawn heavily on the previously mentioned market research 8

9 undertaken with students at aspirational schools who are thinking about progressing to higher education. Collaborative partnerships Exeter College - The University is developing a bespoke partnership with Exeter College to ensure that progression activity in the city is supported post-16 as well as post-18. This relationship will support Exeter College students intending to progress to Higher Education, with the provision of Information, Advice and Guidance through outreach and campus-based activity and a facilitated progression route for Exeter College students wishing to study at the University of Exeter. Exeter College has one of the biggest Year 12-13/sixth forms nationally, and takes students from our aspirational schools Local Partnerships: The University and the College are already joint sponsors of the innovative new Exeter Maths School and are developing a strategic approach to outreach that supports both curriculum enhancement in local schools and progression for the students enrolled in the school. Together with the South Devon UTC, these two new education providers offer opportunities for innovative collaborative approaches to outreach in the region. The University is also the lead education partner of the Ted Wragg Trust, which seeks continual educational improvement in the city of Exeter through partnerships established with local schools, Exeter College and the University. Through the Trust, the University will establish a cohort of target primary pupils who will be able to access the University s current programme of work with primary age children, which currently engages more than 1200 pupils each year. A new extension of activity in the early secondary years will ensure continued engagement with these students until they become part of other established WP activities in Yr 9 and beyond. Tracking and impact evaluation will be undertaken to assess the effectiveness of such sustained interventions IntoUniversity Bristol, Bath and Exeter universities have agreed to co-fund an IntoUniversity Centre in South Bristol which will open in This will provide sustained engagement with pupils in this highly deprived area of the South West and will link into a programme of outreach activities delivered by each of the institutions to further support aspiration and awareness raising among the participants. IntoUniversity has an established track record in changing the lives and futures of the young people it works with and has an effective evaluation process which is embedded into the work of each Centre. This is the first time an IntoUniversity Centre will be collaboratively funded by a number of universities and marks a new model of collaboration for the charity Exeter Links - Exeter has established the Exeter Links programme a formal partnership between the University and 29 aspirational schools across Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. This partnership provides a range of outreach/in-reach opportunities including talks and presentations for students/parents, CPD for teachers, workshops and subject masterclasses, campus visits and residentials. Progression data from these schools will be monitored to assess the impact of engaged partnerships at a whole-school level in increasing applications to HE in general as well as to Exeter in particular GW4 The University has partnered with other research-intensive universities in the West (Bath, Bristol and Cardiff) through the Great Western 4 (GW4) group. As part of this collaborative arrangement the University will continue the programme of regional residential summer schools, previously established under the Aimhigher programme. These Yr 11 summer schools were established in 2012 in conjunction with the universities of Bristol and Bath, allowing the institutions to co-ordinate promotional and recruitment activity and to share good practice. The summer schools, which are based around the Sutton Trust s successful model, have been shown to improve progression to HE from under-represented groups in a study by HEFCE Students Guild/FXU The University has an excellent relationship with the Students Guild in Exeter and the FXU at our Cornwall campuses. As part of our efforts to ensure strategic internal partnerships in pursuit of our widening participation aspirations, we will continue to work with the Students Guild/FXU to develop shared programmes of outreach/support activities for students from 10 Aimhigher Summer Schools Participants and Progression to Higher Education (2010). 9

10 disadvantaged backgrounds. This partnership will be key to the success of the University s new Widening Participation Policy Group In addition to the close ties with the universities of Bristol and Bath, the University of Exeter s Head of Widening Participation and UK Student Recruitment is Chair of the Universities South West Widening Participation Group, which brings together the 13 HEPs across the South West. This Group has worked together specifically to retain and further build collaborative relationships first established under the Aimhigher programme, to develop practitioner networks and deliver a programme of activities to support progression among hard to reach groups students with disabilities, Care Leavers and Children in Care, Mature and Adult Leaners. There is also a strong commitment to the professional development of WP practitioners across the region with provision of an annual conference to share effective practice. Sustained outreach The University is committed to raising aspirations to and awareness of higher education among WP students in the South West thereby seeking increasing the pool of potential students. The University will run different models of sustained outreach with regional and local schools and will undertake robust evaluation to assess the relative effectiveness of the different approaches In support of the Fair Access agenda, the University has a number of programmes that articulate directly with its use of contextual data in the admissions process. These programmes provide highly targeted structured programmes over an extended period and support students with their preparation for higher education and result in an alternative offer for those who complete and apply to Exeter The University has two flagship outreach/compact schemes Realising Opportunities and the STAR programme (originally funded by the Sutton Trust and now wholly funded by the University) The award-winning Realising Opportunities (RO), is a unique collaborative partnership of research intensive universities developing and delivering a national fair access scheme which promotes social and geographic mobility for students from under-represented groups. Realising Opportunities has a robust evaluation framework which incorporates contextual data, student aspirations and the tracking of students through UCAS The Realising Opportunities programme, developed through shared best practice, provides support for students through interventions designed to raise aspirations, develop skills and enable them to demonstrate their potential to succeed at a research intensive university. These interventions are offered locally and nationally and include a National Student Conference, ongoing support and encouragement from a trained student ementor and an academic assessment element. Successful completion of RO will result in additional consideration given to applications through UCAS from all Partner universities, and the potential for an alternative offer worth up to 40 UCAS points or equivalent from many, including Exeter Each of the participating institutions has committed future funds to the central operating budget to ensure the on-going delivery and development of RO to For this will be a maximum of 37,513 per Partner RO s independent evaluators, the Institute for Effective Education, commented in December 2013 partnership working and collaboration have been central to the programme since it was first introduced and it is this that makes it different from many other widening participation projects The Partnership has set a joint target with regard to progression to research intensive universities (RIU) 11. The ambition is that 36% of students starting the RO Programme in Year 12 in 2013 will progress to an RIU in 2015 and that 38% of students starting RO in Year 12 in 2014 will progress to an RIU in To set this in context, 33% of the cohort completing RO in 2013 progressed to RIUs against a target of 32%. 11 defined by membership of either the Russell Group or previous membership of the 1994 Group. 10

11 The University will expand the scope and scale of its STAR programme, including working more proactively with local further education colleges. New models of engagement focussing on specific academic disciplines will be based on examples of best practice across the sector and as such will be critical to the success of the University s attempts to recruit a greater proportion of underrepresented students Exeter became a partner university for the Sutton Trust-funded Pathways to Law in This programme will sit alongside STAR as a model of a successful discipline-specific sustained intervention programme. It is intended that the extended STAR programme will focus on supporting access to the professions as well as targeting disciplines with particular challenges regarding their WP intake profile Resource will also be allocated to expanding subject-specific programmes for year 12 students that recruit from aspirational schools and colleges nationally. These intensive programmes of activity will include residentials and the use of MOOCs, supporting progression to highly selective universities and engagement with high level academic learning prior to entry. Where appropriate these will result in a guaranteed, alternative offer for participants who subsequently decide to apply to Exeter. Regional aspiration-raising activity The University, alongside the other HE providers across Cornwall are committed to continuing the WP network established through the Combined Universities of Cornwall (CUC). This group, comprising of HEIs, FECs, schools, community and council representation oversaw the development and delivery of WP activity funded through ESF Convergence funding, and other sources. Although CUC no longer has a central administrative team there is a commitment to ensure that the working relationships and added value of this collaborative network are not lost. Cornwall has been a target for considerable intervention in recent years, as a result of historically low progression to HE. The University is keen to support the efforts of Cornwall Council to promote higher education opportunities in Cornwall, the South West and nationally. The University has already been working for a number of years with the Children s University in Cornwall to promote the concept of higher education with students at primary school and is seeking a bespoke partnership with Truro and Penwith College to create a programme of outreach and engagement activity, leading to a facilitated progression route to the University of Exeter While the University s record in attracting students with disabilities is very good, there is a strong commitment to make the University even more accessible and attractive to students with disabilities. The University will therefore commit approximately 50k to outreach, transition and retention programmes designed to highlight the range of support available to students with disabilities and to encourage disabled school/college students to consider applying to the University of Exeter and higher education more generally The University will continue to invest in the outreach work it undertakes with young people in care as part of its Commitment to Care Leavers. It will also provide financial support for care leavers under the age of 25 who have spent a minimum period of three months in local authority care, as per the Care Leavers Act. This support will include a full fee waiver for all years of undergraduate study and financial support for accommodation outside university term dates The University of Exeter will collaborate with eleven universities in the South West region to fund, maintain, develop and promote the careers support websites managed by the Western Vocational Progression Consortium (WVPC). Lifepilot engaging and supporting mature and part-time students ( Careerpilot providing pathway and progression information for year olds ( Partners will support the development of the websites; develop further strategies to embed the websites into outreach and IAG activities, set and monitor milestones for inclusion in the OFFA monitoring report and explore funding opportunities for the development of additional resources to support schools in providing IAG about progression to HE. 11

12 Specific outreach activity will be undertaken to address key widening participation priorities at postgraduate ITT level. Activity will be focused on increasing the number of male PGCE primary students and admitting more Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) students to all of the University s postgraduate ITT programmes. Additional expenditure in this area will focus on expanding existing provision in this area, as well as securing dedicated time from an academic within the Graduate School of Education to co-ordinate and lead this activity. 2.5 Student Success Summary: - As identified previously, it is imperative not only to recruit WP target students into the University but to support their progress through and beyond HE. - The University is committed to closing the gap in retention and degree outcomes for mature students, students with disabilities and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. - Funding will be allocated to supporting work placements, internships and PG study information for WP students to support progression into graduate level employment and further study. - Data analytics will be used to support student success and post-graduation progression among WP students The differential outcomes, both in terms of degree performance and post-graduation progression, for WP target groups have been demonstrated at national 12 as well as at institutional level. We are concerned by our analyses of DLHE data for the 2011/12 cohort that show that progression to graduate level employment and further study is lower among Exeter students from LPNs (section 2.2.7) than among their peers. Access to the professions and progression to post-graduate study have been identified as national priorities. We are aware that having networks and social capital, and creating opportunities can be key to supporting social mobility. The University is absolutely committed to ensuring that all students are adequately prepared to thrive in the graduate employment market. As such, we intend to invest a significant sum in supporting students in gaining appropriate work experience and internships during their undergraduate study As well as extending the partnership with the charity upreach to provide skills development and work placements for a cohort of 70 students each year, a new placements and internship centre, Exeter Placement and Internship Centre (EPIC), will focus on working with WP students to support them through the process of gaining, completing and reflecting on their placement or internship. The centre will work with employers and alumni to build and maintain relationships, focusing on access to key professions for placements and internships. The target is to narrow the gap in positive graduate destination scores between students from LPNs and those who are not. Where other target groups are found to be similarly disadvantaged, they too will be targeted for this support. UK Student: LPN UK Student: Not LPN Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Positive Negative Positive Negative Graduate Destination Score (KPI Pop) % % % % Graduate Destination Score (All students) % % % % Non-professional job Non-professional job Professional job Professional job Graduate Level Employment (KPI Pop) % % % % Graduate Level Employment (All students) % % % % Graduate Level Study Non-graduate Level Study Graduate Level Study Non-graduate Level Study Graduate Level Further Study (KPI Pop) % 1 3.2% % % Graduate Level Further Study (All students) % 2 5.0% % % 12 Differences in Degree Outcomes: key findings. HEFCE March 2014 ref:2014/03 12

13 2.5.3 As well as preparing students for graduate level employment, we also want to encourage progression to postgraduate study wherever possible. To support this aim, we will provide focussed activity to promote the opportunities available to current undergraduates from WP groups. This will include an annual postgraduate information fair and discipline-specific taster sessions with targeted information sent to final year WP students. In addition we will explore with partner institutions the feasibility of a collaborative information fairs across the GW4 research group of Exeter, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. We will learn from the evidence produced by the HEFCE funded Postgraduate Support Scheme projects on WP postgraduate progression to inform the development of further activities and approaches in this area As has been noted previously, the University of Exeter has excellent retention rates, but where we identify differential retention rates for groups of disadvantaged students, these must be addressed as a matter of priority. In doing so, we will work with academic Colleges, central Professional Services and the Guild/FXU to ensure that appropriate support is put in place for example a programme of peer-to-peer support As identified in section and the University has already identified differential outcomes for specific groups of WP students in terms of retention and degree outcome. The University is committed to developing meaningful insights into the factors affecting the success of WP students through the use of educational data. We intend to invest in data analytics that will enable us to profile the behaviours of target groups and compare these to the patterns of engagement and study that lead to the highest levels of student success and progression to graduate level employment and further study. Using this evidence base we will establish approaches to individualised communication and support that will seek to improve the outcomes and experiences of these students The University will use the resulting insights alongside the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) to develop an action plan with each College to address identified areas of need within disciplines and to ensure that teaching and learning priorities reflect the commitment to narrowing the gap in retention and attainment for mature students, students with disabilities and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Further, we will ensure that information collected through exit interviews for students who do decide to interrupt or withdraw is analysed to help us identify trends and themes in the reasons for non-continuation in these and other groups Following the cessation of the Access to Learning Fund (ALF) funding stream, we will allocate a sum from Additional Fee Income (AFI) to provide support for undergraduate students in financial hardship. Our evidence from is that there is considerable financial need both among student with a residual household income of less than c 42,600 and those who fall outside that threshold. In we provided 100k of financial assistance for UG students in receipt of statutory financial support using the ALF assessment criteria, and 110k to those with incomes above the 42,600 threshold. We propose to allocate a fixed sum to provide financial support for undergraduate students who fall within one of the WP target groups. 2.6 Financial support for students Financial support will be available to all Home/EU undergraduate and postgraduate ITT students at the University of Exeter and eligibility will be judged on the basis of financial criteria obtained from UK student finance bodies, where students are assessed to determine their entitlement to maintenance grants and loans. The University will continue to invest in Money Advisors (employed by the Students Guild/FXU), who offer budgeting and financial advice to students, particularly those who are not used to managing their own finances and may find themselves in financial difficulty It is intended that, following the cessation of the NSP, all direct financial support will be offered through the Access to Exeter bursary. Following consultation with the Student Guild and FXU, it has been agreed that the bursary package for 2015/16 entrants should remain broadly the same as that originally proposed for 2014/15 for students with a household income below 25,000. The scheme 13

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