The University has made significant progress towards its overall Access and Participation target this year, thanks in large part to the success of its outreach programmes during the Covid19 pandemic.

Although the pandemic has exacerbated disadvantage in the UK, the University has been able to support more of the most disadvantaged students than ever before through its outreach programmes including Discover Bath and Pathway to Bath.

In particular the University was quick to move outreach programmes online and to try to support those students facing digital disadvantages.

Through both the introduction of a new contextual offer programme and by moving programmes online almost 40% of the students who meet the University’s widening participation criteria entering Bath this year have come through our outreach programmes. This focus on supporting students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds has meant the University has made significant progress towards its overall Access and Participation target, hitting interim targets set with the Office for Students (OfS) for access to University. Supporting students to access and be successful at university from areas of low participation in HE, areas of socio-economic disadvantage or students from vulnerable groups are key objectives for the University and the OfS.

An overall target is due to be complete by 2025, with ‘milestones’ along the way to keep on track. For the 2021/22 cohort of undergraduates the University has hit all three milestones for the access targets.

Dr Andrew Ross, Head of Widening Participation, said: “I’m really pleased we have been able to support the most disadvantaged students during a time when they face significant additional challenges. I’m proud that 40% of the WP students entering in September will have come through our outreach programmes.

“We’ve delivered a lot of outreach activity to support students and it is testament to the hard work of the teams involved that we have positively begun our journey towards meeting our Access and Participation targets.

“This is the start of the journey and we’re already working hard to support the cohort of students entering in 2022, we’ve introduced two new partnerships and we’ve been working hard to allow as many students as possible to visit the University campus.

“I’m looking forward to meeting some of the students when they start in September and I hope some of them will be able to work with us to support the next cohort of students.”