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The toolkits are designed to support the effective strategy, management and delivery of outreach work to encourage progression to HE. They draw on existing outreach methods and resources, most notably those produced by the Aimhigher partnerships. They focus on four themes: 

  • targeting activities
  • partnership building
  • delivering programmes
  • undertaking evaluation. 

The toolkits were commissioned by HEFCE and compiled by the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby and the Progression Trust. They are endorsed by the Office for Fair Access (OFFA). 

Heather Fry, Director (Education, Participation and Students), HEFCE, said: 

‘Change in the English education system has shifted the nature of widening participation practice. The toolkits reflect this change, adapting and reframing the learning from previous programmes such as Aimhigher. They should be invaluable in drawing together and sharing a wealth of experience and good practice. Our aim is that the materials, with practical ideas, tools and guidance, prove useful for those working in widening participation and serve as a basis for further innovation.’ 

Speaking at an event organised by HEFCE and the HEA, ‘Widening participation 2012 and beyond: tools and resources for the new HE context’, Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, OFFA, commented: 

‘Universities and colleges plan to invest more than £110 million in outreach by the academic year 2016-17 and these highly practical toolkits will help them get the best return from that investment. For example, I’m very pleased that one of the toolkits focuses on the challenge of evaluating your outreach activities so that you know what works best and can concentrate your efforts accordingly. This is essential to a good access strategy.’

Notes

1. The toolkits were launched at an event organised by HEFCE and the HEA. ‘Widening participation 2012 and beyond: tools and resources for the new HE context’ took place on Tuesday 18 December 2012. The event also launched six syntheses of the literature and resources in the HEA’s ‘Widening access, student retention and success national programmes’ archive.