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Widening Higher Education Participation in Rural Communities in England: An Anchor Institution Model

Elliott, Geoffrey (2018) Widening Higher Education Participation in Rural Communities in England: An Anchor Institution Model. International Review of Education, 64 (1). pp. 65-84. ISSN 0020-8566 Online: 1573-0638

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Abstract

Against a United Kingdom policy background of attempts to widen higher education participation in a socially inclusive direction, this article analyses theory, policy and practice to understand why past efforts have had limited success and to propose an alternative: an "anchor institution" model. A university and a private training provider were the principal partners in this venture, known as the South-West Partnership; the model was developed by them to meet the particular needs of mature female students who want and/or need to study part-time in a rural, coastal and isolated area of south-west England. While the concept of "anchor institutions" has previously been used in government social policy, and in higher education to promote knowledge transfer, it has not yet been adopted as a method for widening participation. The research study presented in this article investigated the effectiveness of the model in widening higher education participation in the context of the South-West Partnership. The study was conducted within an interpretivist theoretical framework. It accessed student voice to illustrate the character of education required to widen participation in vocational higher education by mature female students in rural communities, through semi-structured qualitative interviews on a range of topics identified from relevant theoretical literature, and by drawing on the research team's professional knowledge and experience. These topics included student aspirations and career destinations, motivations, access, learning experiences, and peer and tutor support. It is hoped the findings will inform the future development of adult vocational higher education provision in rural areas, where opportunities have been limited, and encourage further application of the anchor institution model for widening participation elsewhere.

Item Type: Article
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Staff and students at the University of Worcester can access the full-text via the UW online library search. External users should check availability with their local library or Interlibrary Requests Service.

Uncontrolled Keywords: higher education, widening participation, lifelong learning, access, rural, anchor institutions
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Geoffrey Elliott
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2018 09:23
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2019 01:00
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/6478

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