Widening Participation

The University of Chester has a long tradition of working with local schools to help widen participation at Higher Education. The Widening Participation team leads on a range of targeted activities and initiatives specifically aimed at raising the aspirations and attainment of learners, in order to encourage progression in education, including progression to this University.

Activities are aimed at students from Year 6 right through to Year 13.  We work with teachers, parents and careers advisors to make sure that students receive the best information when researching their Higher Education options. We also develop activities to engage with particular groups of learners such as Access and BTEC students and Looked after Children etc.

Higher Education Engagement Programme

Our Widening Participation team have developed a long-term programme of activity designed to raise student’s aspirations and give them a clear idea of the benefits of higher education. Over the course of their school career, our dedicated team will work with students at key transition points, delivering a range of activities and events that will offer impartial information, advice and guidance. The aims of this activity are to debunk some of the myths that surround university, give them an awareness of the many different paths that are open to them, and to help them to achieve their academic potential.

Details of the Programme for each key stage are outlined below:

Key Stage 3 – Years 7 and 8

Our first interaction with your students will introduce them to the concept of Higher Education and show them that university is an option that is available to everybody.

We can welcome Year 7 and 8 pupils to one of our campuses to take part in a range of fun, interactive sessions to raise students’ aspirations, highlight the many courses available to study and introduce them to the vocabulary of higher education. This will equip students with a solid foundation of knowledge that will then be built on with each subsequent interaction with the University of Chester.

Key Stage 3 – Year 9

We have developed a series of talks and workshops than can be delivered in your school which will ensure that your students have a clear understanding of what their options choices could mean for their future.

These fun and engaging workshops will also highlight the links between the school curriculum and the different university courses and graduate careers available to them. We will also host a number of different option subject taster days that will give students an idea of what courses related to their option choices look like at university level.

Key Stage 4 – Years 10 and 11

At this phase our work becomes more targeted and we look to work with specific groups of students. We would ask schools to help us identify those students who are ‘most able but least likely to attend HE’ to take part in activities. This could be children who would be first in their family to attend university, be in receipt of Pupil Premium, be in local authority care or have experienced a care environment, or students who are from an ethnic background that is currently under-represented in higher education.

Outreach Secondary Banner

As students focus on their GCSE’s the main focus of our activity will shift towards helping students achieve their academic potential. This could involve a visit to campus, a summer residential or a ‘revision club’ based in school or one of our campuses, where your pupils will be given the opportunity to work with current University of Chester students who will help them revise for their exams.

Key Stage 5 – Year 12 +

To help make the process of deciding whether to go to, and apply for university simpler and less daunting, we have developed a number of talks and workshops that will make students fully aware of the various university courses and post-18 options open to them.

Our fully trained team will also be able to provide impartial and accurate information, advice and guidance on student finance and the UCAS application process. In addition, we have also developed a number of study skills workshops that can help prepare students for life at university.

Download Higher Education Engagement Programme for Schools

Download Higher Education Engagement Programme for Colleges

Subject Specific Events

Alongside all of our Schools and Colleges Liaison and Widening Participation activity, the University of Chester is committed to continuing to offer other opportunities to students. These include STEM specific events at our Thornton Science Park Campus, as well as subject specific taster days in other subject areas available across our institution such as Business, Health & Social Care and Arts & Media.

To speak to a member of the team about any activity please contact us via outreach@chester.ac.uk or on 01244 512450.