Help improve equality of opportunity

Why we’re asking for new access and participation plans

We recently adopted a new approach to regulating equality of opportunity, and we're asking universities and colleges to produce new access and participation plans.

In 2023, we asked 40 universities and colleges to volunteer to produce new access and participation plans as part of a pilot of this new approach. Once we have learned from this pilot phase, we'll be asking other universities and colleges to produce their plans.

Our new approach emphasises the need for:

  • universities and colleges to work closely with schools to raise attainment
  • accessible and understandable access and participation plans
  • a focus not only on fair access but also on student outcomes
  • flexible provision for students
  • better evaluation of progress.
Find out more about our new approach

Equality of Opportunity Risk Register

Central to our revised approach is our new Equality of Opportunity Risk Register (EORR). This identifies the many and varied things that can stand in the way of students having equal opportunity to access, participate and succeed in higher education, and presents them in the form of risks that universities and colleges are expected to mitigate.

Find out more about the EORR

Your role

We expect universities and colleges to meaningfully involve students in the design of access and participation plans. They should consult and engage with representative bodies such as students' unions, include students on decision making panels and engage with students from a diverse range of backgrounds to gain representative feedback.

We also invite student bodies to share their views on access and participation plans directly with us through a student submission.

Find out more about ways to share your views
Published 14 June 2023

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