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WPREU Bulletin


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Coming Up

7 June

SRHE Seminar - Exploring Capability Theory in Higher Education Research: UK and International Perspectives

4-7 September

BERA Conference 2017



BME Attainment Gap Project

BME Literature Review

Cool 2B Clever 2016 - Internal Evaluation Report: Focus Group and Interview Outcomes

City Connections: Social Sciences Evaluation Report

2016 Student Finance Outcomes

Finance Second Year

Welcome to the May 2017 WPREU Bulletin:


The rapid pace of change in the sector has not slowed since the last bulletin in November, and many of the issues discussed, in particular the drive towards a closer relationship between school and Higher Education sectors, have continued to develop, and number of policy directions that were emerging last Autumn have now crystalised into OFFA guidance, thereby setting the WP agenda for the HE sector. Issued in January, the latest round of OFFA guidance is notable for enshrining ‘new’ target groups (“white working class boys”), new priority areas (attainment raising and closer HE relationships with schools) and the central role played by HEFCE’s new National Collaborative Outreach Programme (NCOP).

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This year’s Financial Support evaluation is well underway, with the first phase of research, a survey, receiving over 2000 responses. The survey ran for two weeks, coinciding with the University’s student money week.

This year's project is more specific in its focus, setting out to explore the relationship between financial support and term-time work, and how the two can be seen to impact on students academic engagement and experience specifically.

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Higher Education policy regarding widening participation is increasingly moving towards a more holistic approach that considers the entire student lifecycle, rather than just widening participation at the point of access. This article looks briefly at how that plays into the equality and diversity agenda, and how the two areas of work are combining to advance equality of opportunity for all students, particularly with regards to their experiences of, and outcomes from, their time at university.

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Jessica Baily from Projects and Development and Samantha Linton from the Students' Union have recently worked together looking at student perspectives on engagement activities within academic life. This was done in order to gain a deeper undertanding of why students do or do not engage (beyond the the idea of apathy) and to identify what barriers there are, and what factors facilitate it.

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Zoe Baker from WPREU gives an update on the Equivalent Qualifications project, which explores how students from a BTEC background experience the transition into and through the University.

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Alongside the work being carried out by the Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit (WPREU) on the attainment gap for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) ‘home' students at The University of Sheffield, the Faculty of Social Sciences has put together a Task and Finish Group of staff members and students to research differential attainment of BME students within the faculty.

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Updates from journals, newspapers and other sources.

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