External image of East Durham College's Peterlee Campus Building

Widening Participation To Higher Education

East Durham College has a firm commitment to widening participation to higher education.

The vast majority of our students come from internal progression, following on their studies from our further education programmes, or adults from the local community. Again, the vast majority of these are from backgrounds in which few have participated in higher education or enjoyed the benefits that degree-level study can bring. Our primary recruitment region is located within a low-participation area, with many students belonging to lower socio-economic groups. Accordingly, and within the rules and guidelines of the University of Sunderland, we have a higher education offer which combines fair and open access    with considerable opportunity for enhancing personal and academic development enabling progression into employment or further study

We align our approach to that of our key higher education partner, the University of Sunderland.

The following reference is taken for the UoS Access and widening participation and access agreement for 2016-17 and echoes East Durham College’s.

The University of Sunderland is one of the highest performing institutions in terms of attracting students from under-represented groups. The University’s Corporate Plan exemplifies a long-term commitment to providing a high quality and inclusive higher education opportunity for learners from all walks of life. Working in close partnership with local further education colleges, schools, community groups, and other higher education providers, the University has made a significant contribution in raising aspirations and attainment through targeted widening participation initiatives in low participation neighbourhoods and with hard to reach groups. This combined work over a period of many years has contributed to higher participation levels across the Northeast region.

Higher Education Funding Council Performance Indicators are indicative of the University’s overall achievement in widening access. 97.9% of young, full-time undergraduate entrants are from state schools, and 45.5% are from Socio-Economic classes 4, 5, 6 & 7. (HEFCE Performance Indicators based on Polar 3 boundaries for Widening Participation 2013/14).

Supporting students to succeed is a very high priority with East Durham College and we do this by offering:

  • Excellent tutorial support for both academic and personal development
  • Clear identification of ‘at risk’ learners to better target additional support
  • Excellent financial advice from student services and a dedicated University of Sunderland Partnership Liaison Officer
  • Monitoring of attendance and supportive interventions
  • Dedicated study space for higher education students
  • High levels of lecturer and tutor contact
  • Active promotion of academic skills and preparation for independent study