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Widening access and participation

Our steps to increase the diversity of our community and help those from disadvantaged backgrounds to join Bath. Part of the Annual Report and Accounts 2020/21.

Bath reinforced its commitment in 2021 to widening participation and encouraging students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the launch of its Access to Bath and Target Bath programmes. We want to increase the diversity of the student population, enrich our campus community and make it more representative of the general population.

Our schemes

A group of Gold Scholar Students sitting at a bench on campus.
Our Bath Gold Scholar Students

Under the Access to Bath online programme, we made over 1,700 offers to students for entry in 2021, including an alternative offer with a lower grade requirement if they complete a programme of assignments. Over 500 prospective students have completed the programme, which prepares them for life and study at Bath. Those eligible to apply include young carers, people from disadvantaged areas, refugees, asylum seekers and those granted humanitarian protection.

Target Bath, which helps students of Black African and Caribbean heritage gain places at the University, offers free support to Year 12 students, providing access to black student role models, advice on how to apply to Bath and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) process, sessions with tutors, and a place on the Discover Bath summer residential programme.

Abraham Bayo-Tofowomo is a third year Computer Science student on his placement year working on his own business. “I am very proud to be a part of the Target Bath initiative. As a black student, mentor, and volunteer in my local community I understand the importance of higher education. For far too long the potential of black students, especially from disadvantaged areas, has been ignored. It brings me joy that a prestigious university not only recognises the talent and potential of black students but is actively putting resources in place to allow us to flourish.”

The schemes complement the established Gold Scholarship programme, which helps 50 students each year from low income families throughout their undergraduate studies. Over 40% of scholars are from ethnic minority backgrounds, and over 30% have a declared disability.

“The Gold Scholarship pushes us to be better, to volunteer and learn, and to improve ourselves. Being a Gold Scholar means I am fully supported to succeed and go further with my goals whether they are personal or career based. It means that I can make the most of my university life without constant stress and can push myself to try new things and develop new skills without fear of financial troubles,” said Jamie Szostak, Gold Scholar.

Our Widening Access team

Our University’s Widening Access Team is dedicated to engaging with students from low socio-economic households or areas where few people progress to higher education. We were quick to move online during the pandemic to ensure participation programmes continued to flourish.

We work with partners such as national social mobility charity Villiers Park, Into University (co-funding three of their centres in Weston-super-Mare, south Bristol, and Hammersmith, London), the Welsh Government’s Seren programme, and the Brilliant Club (which helps Bath doctoral students work in outreach roles with school-age students from under-represented groups). Pre-pandemic, widening participation initiatives included a large programme of visits to secondary schools and colleges, on-campus events and several sustained contact programmes.