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Widening Access

Some groups of learners are statistically less likely to progress to higher education. Our Widening Access team works to overcome barriers to learning and supports students to achieve their potential. Widening Access aims to increase the profile of underrepresented groups going to university.

We deliver a range of activities each year, all designed to aid student ambitions and improve outcomes. To make our programmes as relevant and accessible as possible, we collaborate with other university departments, external organisations, individuals and students. Our Student Ambassadors are key to the success of our delivery. As current University of Hertfordshire students, they bring first hand experience to our activities.

Find out about who we support

Primary schools

We believe that impactful access initiatives should involve sustained engagement over time. To deliver this effectively, we work closely with primary schools in target areas.  Our programme aims to support educational choices through discussions on higher education and encounters with university and current university students.

In collaboration with the School of Law and Education, we run a number of projects and events including:

  • The Festival of Outdoor Education
  • The Big STEAM
  • The Joy of Reading.

We are currently working with the following primary schools:

  • St Nicholas CofE (VA) Primary School and Nursery
  • Peartree Spring Primary School
  • Featherstone Wood Primary School
  • Yewtree Primary School
  • Hammond Academy

These target schools will be reviewed periodically to ensure we are continuing to target schools most in need of our support.

Secondary schools

The Widening Access team work with schools that have been identified as having low progression to higher education. Typically, these schools have high numbers of students receiving free school meals and whose families have no history of attending university.

Our programme of activities include:

  • on campus events at KS3 and KS5
  • residential trips
  • mentoring
  • literacy Projects
  • in-school workshops
  • webinars

We are currently working with the following schools:

The Adeyfield Academy
The Astley Cooper School
Barnwell School
Marriotts School
Barclay Academy
The Thomas Alleyne Academy
Laureate Academy
Longdean School

Strategic Partnership Schools
Ridgeway Academy  
Stanborough School  
The Grange Academy  
Onslow St Audreys School  
Haileybury Turnford  
Elstree Screen Arts Academy  
Fearnhill School  
Future Academies Watford  
The Nobel School  
Hertswood Academy

Consortium Colleges
North Herts College 
West Herts College
Oaklands College
(Hertford Regional College)

Partnership Schools receive a full package of funding and support from the Widening Access team and the Aspire Higher consortium. Strategic partnership schools receive access to our key flagship on campus events and digital outreach offering. We run a bespoke event for Hertfordshire schools that are designated Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) schools.

Aspire Higher

Aspire higher is one of 29 partnerships which are part of the Office for Students (OfS) OfS Uni Connect Programme.

Aspire Higher is a partnership between the Universities of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Northampton. We work with local schools and colleges, offering impartial guidance and targeted outreach activity. This is to support them in providing exposure to higher education experiences, improving learner attainment, and in meeting the Gatsby benchmarks.

We also provide free access to online events and webinars for students, school staff and parents/carers. To see information on all local outreach and collaborative activity taking place across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire visit the Aspire Higher Hub.

Students we support

Students are selected based on meeting widening participation criteria and in collaboration with our partner schools. The criteria exists to allow groups that are currently underrepresented in higher education to have priority in accessing our programmes.

Support for teachers and school leaders

We also work closely with our target schools and HfL Education to promote and subsidise CPD opportunities for staff, teachers and school governors. The University’s Governor’s Forum support staff by providing a network to share good practice and termly meetings to discuss their role. We also aim to help staff find volunteering placements as governors in local schools.

The information was really insightful and helped me to clear up any misconceptions and things I didn't already know about student finance

Year 13 Student

Student Finance workshop

It was lovely to see children engage with big topics such as OCD and mental health in a mature way. They loved having their own books to follow along with that they desperately wanted to read on more each day.

Primary School Teacher