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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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This project builds on the current Student Attainment Project (SAP) at the University of Derby (UoD) which is working to close the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) attainment gap.

The SAP has drawn on the work of the Disparities in Student Attainment project (DISA) which was led by the Universities of Coventry and Wolverhampton. Research from DISA, confirmed by the ‘Causes of Differences in Student Outcomes’ report by King's College (2015), indicates that there is no single factor that drives disparities in student attainment and that the domains of curricula and learning, relationships, cultural and social capital and psychosocial identity are important in shaping student experience and outcomes for students.

Working in partnership with Southampton Solent University and the University of West London, the HEFCE Catalyst Fund Student Attainment Project 2 (SAP2) aims to:

  • work with partner HE providers to validate that the adoption of the SAP approach can deliver similar benefits in other institutions
  • extend the SAP methodology so as to target attainment gaps in other contexts (for example: gender; disability; socio-economic background) in order to assess its effectiveness in these contexts
  • provide evidence as to the optimal means of ensuring the sustainability of outcomes within institutions.

Key activities the project partners are undertaking through the SAP2 include:

  • Developing a framework for module selection
  • Deploying over two stages a range of inclusive interventions at module level
  • Undertaking analysis of module level attainment data to identify interventions demonstrating benefit in closing attainment gaps for different groups of students
  • Exploring and identifying where institutional working practices and policies best support inclusive interventions and sustainability of the approach
  • A project evaluation through the International Centre for Guidance Studies, University of Derby
  • Dissemination, including through University of Derby Online (UDOL).


Catalyst funding 

Total project funding  £683,074
Project contact name  Helen Hathaway 
Project contact email
Project contact telephone  01332 593676
Project website

See a complete list of all funded projects


Page last updated 25 January 2018