Perspectives on access to Higher Education: practice and research

Broadhead, Samantha ORCID logoORCID:, Davies, Rosemarie and Hudson, Anthony (2019) Perspectives on access to Higher Education: practice and research. Emerald Publishing. ISBN 9781787569942


Access to HE is an under researched area there have been a small amount of books which have addressed the topic (Burke, 2002; James and Busher, 2017; Broadhead and Gregson, 2018) and some journal articles (Parry, 1996; Osborne, Leopold and Ferrie, 1997; Reay, Ball and David 2002; Christie, Munro and Wager, 2005). Access programmes have a long history beginning in the 1970s and 1980s and their function to provide an alternative route into higher education is still very relevant in today’s context. Access programmes are an important means of enabling people to improve their life chances. In light of recent findings by The Social Mobility Commission (2017) who have commented on the fall in part-time student numbers over five years by 56%, suggesting that adult students are not able to study, care for dependents and work concurrently. The Commission also found that that over the last five years 1.2 million students from low-income homes have left school without five good GCSEs. As more careers require higher education qualifications, people who have not achieved level three accreditation (conventionally in the UK A levels) will need to find alternative ways of entering higher education. Access to Higher Education courses are still needed in today’s Britain as are other enabling courses in other parts of the globe. Access to HE has been through many changes since their beginning in the 1970s. These include the introduction of Access Validating Agencies; the introduction of regional frameworks; the standardisation of credits required to gain an Access certificate and the grading of individual credits. What is the state of Access to HE in the 21st century? This question needs to be addressed as adult learners seek to access higher education to increase their life chances and social mobility. This book evaluates some of the recent changes and argues that Access education is alive and kicking because of its diversity; serving different people in different ways. As much of the research in this book is carried out by practitioners and researchers who have worked in access education; their unique and valuable analysis is grounded in authentic experience.

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