This research was based in Hastings, and was part of a larger project in five areas of England selected on the basis of low levels of young participation in higher education in urban, rural and coastal areas. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provided £50,000 in funding.
This research project took place in 2009 and the final report was published in 2010.
The aims of the study were to provide all parties with a better understanding of the social, economic and cultural factors that might lie behind the low participation rates in each community, in order to establish what might be done to improve them, and to commit institutions to embedding strategic activity that will widen participation across the areas studied.
The research was part of an ongoing commitment by the University of Brighton to widening participation in Hastings. It employed a multi-method approach using survey, interview and focus group tools, alongside documentary analysis and desk survey.
The project considered the influence of family background, school experience, aspirations and attitudes along with the impact of information, advice and guidance. Key recommendations featured practical actions to be implemented through education partnerships, including:
The purpose of the research and report was to provide further impetus to continue the important widening participation work in Hastings to ensure that young people and their families benefit from the education and training opportunities available.
This project contributed to HEFCE’s aim to facilitate longer term higher education engagement in low participation neighbourhoods and to develop transferable models of practice. Evidence will inform sustainable development and engagement in education across all communities and ages on an ongoing basis.
Professor Andrew ChurchProfessor Yvonne HillierSuzanne HydeDr Carol RobinsonDr Judith Watson
Progression to post-16 education and training in Hastings: Communities and widening participation research, August 2010
Hastings Learning and Skills Research GroupHastings Excellence ClusterOre Valley Forum