Access and Participation Plan 2020-21 to 2024-25


What is an access and participation plan?

Access and participation plans (APP) set out how higher education providers will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education.

See our full access and participation plan

Key points

The focus of the University’s APP is on improving outcomes for specific groups of students. Data shows that outcomes are lower for certain groups of students.

We have made progress in most areas. However, there is still a way to go to ensure that more black students can achieve degree awards of 2:1 or above, which will help close the ‘awarding gap’ between our white and black students.

Fees we charge

At the University of Derby, the maximum fees we charge UK undergraduate students are:

See our full list of fees

Financial help available

We offer financial support to students from underrepresented groups. This helps students access higher education and continue studying until their course is completed. The support includes:

See a full list of financial help for undergraduate students

Information for students

What we are aiming to achieve

The overall aim is to secure equitable outcomes for specific groups of students, and in doing so, to close the gaps that exist between these and other groups. The assessment of performance (completed in 2019), identified the following targets and milestones to be achieved by 2024/25:

The University has a diverse student population. Success in ‘widening access’ for people with specific characteristics, or who live in areas where people are less likely study in higher education means that the University does not currently have an APP target in this area. The APP variation document sets out the work in partnership with schools and how this is expanding.

What we are doing to achieve our aims

  1. Expand work in partnership with school leaders, educators, networks, and learners to improve attainment, self-efficacy, and awareness of higher education study options
  2. Develop new frameworks to increase students’ sense of belonging and purpose, self-efficacy, resilience, and engagement (Learning and Teaching), and ensure the programmes are research and innovation led, embed sustainable development, inclusive by design and scaffold personal development (Curriculum Design)
  3. Implement the University Attainment Policy through activities to help close awarding gaps between different groups of students
  4. Enhance the student support model to provide a range of information, advice, and guidance for students to support their physical, emotional, and mental health
  5. Offer financial support, including bursaries and hardship funding for eligible students, and financial health checks to promote healthy money habits and financial wellbeing
  6. Expand the range of flexible and diverse modes of learning to help all students with the ambition, desire, and potential to succeed to access higher education
  7. Deliver a range of schemes and activities to support students to progress to graduate-level employment or further higher-level study

How students can get involved

Share your views - over 900 students contributed to the design of the plan through polls, focus groups, and ‘on the ground’ research at college conferences and employability events.

Contact the Union of Students - the Union contributed to the development of the plan and the activities identified to help achieve the access and participation goals.

Join Student Ambassador and Unibuddy schemes - the schemes employ students to work with prospective students in a variety of settings such as Open Days, chatting via the UniBuddy platform, visiting schools and colleges to provide advice and guidance.

Existing students can register their interest in Student Ambassador and Unibuddy roles

Evaluation – how we will measure what we have achieved

A theory of change evaluation model will be used to ensure that the activities are informed by the best available evidence about what works for students.

Evaluation is embedded in the APP activities to help understanding of what has worked well, and where improvements can be made in the best interests of the students.

A new APP Evaluation Framework and Knowledge Hub has been developed to provide advice and guidance for colleagues and to allow them to share and discuss their evaluation outputs.

Evaluation findings will be shared with Transforming Access and Student Outcomes (TASO), the independent hub established to help improve equality in higher education.

The Access and Participation Steering Group will monitor and report on these processes and oversee the implementation of actions to ensure ongoing progress against yearly milestones in the plan. Impact on our target groups is monitored to ensure aims are being addressed.

Progress is reported to and overseen by the Academic Board and Governing Council’s Audit and Risk Committee.

Contact details for further information

You can contact Dan West at for further information