Widening Participation

What is Widening Participation?

Widening Participation (WP) is a government initiative within the Higher Education sector. Universities and colleges around the UK are encouraged to offer and develop outreach work to help to raise the aspirations of groups of people, who may be less likely to go on to study at Higher Education level.

According to the Office for Students* these student groups are:

– Students who has been/currently are in care

– A student whose parents have served in the forces

– Young Adult Carers

– Students from black, Asian or minority Ethnic backgrounds

– Students who have physical, mental or learning disabilities

– Mature Students

– Students from lower socio-economic groups and neighbourhoods in which relatively few people enter higher education

*This list has been taken from the Office for Students website and is correct at the time of publishing

At Bishop Grosseteste University, we believe that every student, regardless of status, age, background or gender, has the right to be encouraged to consider Higher Education as an option for his or her future. All of our outreach work aims to promote the idea that a University education is accessible for all.

First Steps

First Steps is a Widening Participation programme delivered by Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) aimed at engaging students in Year 9 to 11 in a combination of taster days and outreach sessions to help raise aspirations and encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter higher education.

The focus of the programme is to develop study skills while allowing students to find out more about university. The programme is delivered free of charge and is available to schools throughout Lincolnshire and those on the boarder of surrounding counties.

Students involved will take part in activities suitable to their age group, including an Introduction to Higher Education, Revision skills, Budgeting skills, Debating and Presentation skills. All of the sessions are designed to aid students’ knowledge of Higher Education and help their progression onto university in the future.

Click here to download a partnership agreement which includes further detail. To book a place on the programme please click here.

Next Steps

Next Steps is a Widening Participation programme delivered by Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) aimed at engaging students in Year 12 in a combination of taster days and outreach sessions to help raise aspirations and encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter higher education.

The focus of the programme is to develop study skills while allowing students to find out more about university. The programme is delivered free of charge and is available to schools and colleges throughout Lincolnshire and those on the boarder of surrounding counties.

As this is a Widening Participation initiative as of September 2018, Bishop Grosseteste University will be offering contextual offers to students who partake in the Next Steps Programme. Students who complete the full programme, and apply for an undergraduate course at BGU could be made offers at a lower UCAS tariff than standard course applications. This is dependent on other course requirements being met.

The focus of Next Steps is the development of the independent learning skills required when students’ progress to university. In addition, the programme provides opportunities for students to seek information, advice and guidance about their progression to higher education from a range of professional support staff, academic staff and BGU student ambassadors. It is delivered through a four-step approach.

Click here to download a partnership agreement which includes further detail. To book a place on the programme please click here.

Summer School

BGU also holds a residential Summer School over the summer, which is aimed at raising aspirations and offering students an insight into Higher Education. For further information click here.

Other bespoke activity

In addition to our programmes we can also offer bespoke presentations/workshops at your school/college and taster days on our university campus here in Lincoln. We are also able to support with large scale events at your schools such as careers fairs.


Due to funding stipulations, we sometimes have to prioritise certain students over others. This means we use WP criteria and application forms to help us make our decisions about whom we invite to what events. If we are running WP events, the selection process will rarely be first come first served. For more information, please call 01522 583637 to speak to our Widening Participation Co-Ordinator directly.

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