ARC Network has been busy over the summer and early autumn period, producing three research syntheses for the Higher Education Academy (HEA) based on the Widening Access and Student Retention and Success (WASRS) national archive. The archive hosted by HEA, contains key publications and research from Aimhigher and a number of HEFCE funded national programmes. The site (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/retention-archives) includes a search facility and a range of publications created by, or in association with, five recent national programmes including the national Aimhigher programme.
ARC have been awarded three contracts by the Higher Education Academy for literature syntheses of the archive materials from Aimhigher, Lifelong
Learning Networks and the student success programme. From a series of 7 topics, ARC is working on the lessons from the final phase of Aimhigher, the role of HE students in widening access and improving student retention and on the evidence from the archive about collaboration and
partnership working in a competitive environment. The HEA are due to publish the series of literature syntheses at the start of next academic year.
Research Symposium presentations and papers are now available on the Aimhigher Research Network website, which is managed by ARC. Go to
Go to www.arn-nw.org.uk
The next ARC event will be a research symposium on May 3rd at MMU from 2 to 4pm, run on behalf of Aimhigher Research Network. Designed for both practitioners and researchers, this free to attend event features three presentations illustrating different approaches to evaluating outreach and access strategies and space for discussion. We are also seeking to develop a listing of current research and evaluation interests in the territory of widening participation, access to higher education and supporting vulnerable student retention – including the work being done by practitioners, academics and students. For information about the listing click here ARN Symposium. To book on the event go to the online booking form: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FFLPR5L
Following the publication of the report of Jo Wiggan’s review of the ASPIRE programme in Sydney, Australia, ARC has now completed some of the individual school reports, a sample of which is available free to download here The ASPIRE Programme in JJ Cahill. For more information on Jo’s review of the programme contact her on email@example.com.
ARC Network is pleased to announce that one of its Directors, John Sanders, has been appointed as a member of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s (QAA) Access Recognition and Licensing Committee. As well as its general role in relation to UK HE standards and quality, QAA also has a specific remit for regulating and developing Access to HE courses and providing advice to government in this area. John said, ”I am delighted to contribute to this important strand of HE access work, drawing my broad experience in community education, Open College Networks, the Open University and Aimhigher”.
Jo Wiggans has been asked to join a panel of 5 who will advise the Higher Education Academy on the syntheses and design of the archive of resources generated from a number of initiatives in the past 10 years. These include material from Aimhigher and Aimhigher Associates, the Lifelong Learning Networks, and the What Works? Student Retention and Success programmes. The materials are to be brought together in a widening access, student retention and success (WASRS is the challenging acronym) archive. Jo says her interest is in making past work really useful for the present and the future.
ARC hosted their first HE Policy Briefing on February 2ndwith support from BBP in Manchester. The event entitled ‘HE Admissions – where are we now?’ attracted participants from right across the education sector including schools, colleges, Connexions Services and HEIs. Evaluations indicate that delegates appreciated the opportunity to discuss up to data on entry to HE and all respondents expressed an interest in attending future events. Keep your eye open on our news pages for forthcoming Policy Briefings.
Policy Briefing Presentation – Contextual Data
Policy Briefing Presentation – UCAS
The first set of UCAS data on applications to higher education for admission in 2012, under the new fee regime, were published on October 24th, following the October 15th closing date for applications to Oxbridge and to Medicine/Dentistry/Veterinary courses.
The figures show an overall reduction in applicants, compared with this stage last year, of 9% (11.9% for UK applicants) but a much smaller –1.1% for UK 18 year olds – reduction in applicants for programmes subject to the October 15th deadline. . There are gender differences – 10.5% reduction in applications from females compared with a 7% reduction in applications from males. And there are worrying regional differences – Greater London and the South East show below average reductions of 9.1% and 8.1% respectively, whilst the North West shows a reduction of 13.9% and all regions are in double figures. Applications from Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland and from other EU countries are also down. Older applicants are more deterred. The overall reduction in applications (compared to this time last year) is only 2.5% for 18 year olds but goes up quickly to 13.2% for 19 year olds and remains at this kind of level for all students above this age.
But it is early days. The final deadline for UCAS applications is January 15th and a surge of applications are expected after the half term holiday. There will be an anxious wait for some universities, however, if their own applicant figures are showing a proportionately higher drop at this stage. For more information go to http://www.ucas.ac.uk/about_us/media_enquiries/media_releases/2011/20111024
Jo Wiggans, a co-founder of ARC Network and Director of Aimhigher Greater Manchester, was honoured at this year’s Manchester City Council Women’s Awards held on Friday 7th October. Jo was presented with the Kath Fry Special Award for her outstanding contribution to education. The award recognises Jo’s work in inspiring aspirations and supporting young women from deprived areas of the city to progress to Higher Education. The award was presented by Karen Cropper, the daughter of Kath Fry and was given in memory of Kath, a city councillor and worker, but also an inspirational campaigner for education for the disadvantaged. Jo said ‘I am both very humbled and very grateful for the award. I wish I had met Kath. I hugely admire her fight to retain opportunities for Manchester young people’.
To read more about Kath Fry and Jo’s award go to Kath Fry Blog http://kathfry.blogspot.com/2011/10/jo-wigans-director-of-aimhigher-greater.html