12 Apr 2022

Watch the recording from the SCAPP/sparqs event on SE and widening access

Collaboration between sparqs and SCAPP (Scotland’s Community of Access and Participation Practitioners) culminated in an event that showcased practice in the interface of student engagement and widening access and participation. We are delighted to share that the recording from this event is now available to watch.

Student engagement shares much with widening access and participation, given both ideas depend on giving space to individuals to share their authentic experiences in order to shape institutional practice, and both seek to respond to the increasing diversity in the student population. sparqs is involved in many ways in engaging students in shaping widening access and participation, at both institutional and sectoral level. This work is now continuing through close work with SCAPP, the SFC-funded initiative that has created a community of practice for widening access and participation practitioners, and has led to the recent joint event.

Held online on Tuesday 29th March 2022, the event was attended by around fifty participants from across Scotland and beyond including student officers, students’ association staff, widening access practitioners and those in learning and teaching, and student engagement roles. It aimed to share case studies relating to how students are shaping practice in widening access and participation. There were presenters from Strathclyde Union (the only students’ association in the sector to host a widening access staff post), Edinburgh Napier University’s Widening Participation team, and the University of St Andrews’ students’ association and BAME student network.

The case studies covered diverse themes, such as student engagement in strategic approaches to access, students as experts and researchers in the field of care experience, the value of autonomous student networks, and partnership working between students’ associations and widening access teams. The recording shows the three case studies, as well as the useful discussion afterwards which it prompted.

At a time when the student population continues to diversify, and when both staff and students are increasingly conscious of the barriers to successful learning, continuing conversations between students’ associations and widening access practitioners will be crucial. sparqs looks forward to further work with SCAPP to explore this exciting area of activity.

If you have any queries, please contact Simon Varwell, Senior Development Consultant, simon.varwell@sparqs.ac.uk or 07815 938966.

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