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Issue 479, 18 March 2002

Widening the pathway to HE

A series of University events looking at widening participation will begin with a forum on April 15, with speakers from Universities UK and the University of Birmingham, and Professor Richard Taylor from the school of continuing education.

Professor Taylor chairs the HEFCE's Yorkshire and Humberside regional widening participation project and sits on the HEFCE's strategy committee for equal opportunities, access and lifelong learning.

He said: "More and more of the HEFCE's teaching and initiative money is being devoted to widening participation, both nationally and regionally, and two important consultation papers have recently been published on the issue. Leeds has a key role to play, but the implications for change are profound."

Helen Connor will be speaking about her research as part of the UUK project 'Fair enough?'. The project looks at improving the way decisions are made by admissions staff, to make the process more transparent and informed by objective evaluation of potential academic success. At Leeds, the departments of physics, modern languages and philosophy are taking part.

Dr Kevin Whitson will be talking about the issues faced by the University of Birmingham and how they are rising to the challenge, with initiatives such as their 'access to Birmingham' scheme, which looks at ways of providing alternative, though not reduced, offers to students from low participation backgrounds and neighbourhoods.

The forum takes place on April 15 from 1.30 - 4.30pm in University House. For a full programme, contact Ruth Burke-Kennedy on ext 33755 or email r.burke-kennedy@

Future events will look at the implications of widening participation for student support (June 26, 9.30am - 4pm) and departmental initiatives (October 23, 2 -4.30pm).

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