Annual Report - 2021/22

The University’s Widening Access Team supports the achievement of the University’s civic and social mobility ambitions through the creation and delivery of a number of significant outreach programmes for learners currently under-represented in higher education. These programmes are highlighted throughout the Annual report.

The Widening Access team

The team works closely with schools within Derby City and Derbyshire to engage young people, improve their attainment, support their achievement, and raise their awareness of HE and alternative progression opportunities. Through this, we help those we engage with to meet their full potential and make well-informed decisions regarding their future.

In 2021/22 there has been: 

10,447Learner engagements
3,237learners attending 67 on-campus events
5,607learners engaged in 168 school/college sessions


Our Widening Access strategy ensures we focus on the needs of local cohorts, working collaboratively with local schools and other organisations, to address very challenging, entrenched, social mobility issues within Derby City and Derbyshire. We take a research and evidence-based approach to our work and have a robust evaluation structure that underpins our activity. Reflection is embedded throughout using theories of change and logic models to map out success and impact measures and ensure effectiveness.

Theory of change

  1. To develop long-term strategic widening access collaborations and partnerships. 
  2. To support the achievement, and raise the attainment and awareness, of target groups to address patterns of under-representation in higher education. 
  3. To support the elimination of unexplained gaps in continuation, attainment, and progression outcomes for target groups within the University through informed widening access programmes. 
  4. To embed a research and evidence-based approach to our widening access work.
  • Learners and their families/carers
  • Schools and colleges
  • University staff 
  • Current University students
  • Union of Students
  • Government
  • Local councils/LEPS 
  • Other HEIs 
  • Employers 
  • DANCOP/Uni Connect Partners
  1. Progress to Success Framework
  2. Primary Explorers Programme
  3. Skills development
  4. Theory of Change and evaluation framework


To increase participation and equitable outcomes for under-represented groups.

Immediate outcomes


  • University Strategic Framework
  • Institutional Success Measures
  • Access and Participation Plan
  • Civic University Agreement
  • Student Engagement Strategic Plan
  • Widening Access Strategic Plan
  • EDIW
  • Safeguarding 
  • GDPR
  • WA Delivery plan
  • Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic plan (BAME)
  • Students with Disabilities plan
  • Index of Multiple Deprivation plan (IMD)
  • Comms and Social Media plans
  • College Outreach and comms plans
  • Research
  • Evaluation
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Conference papers and publications
  • Progress to Success Framework
  • HE Can programme
  • Think, Reflect, Succeed
  • Healthcare Insight programme
  • Girls into STEM programme
  • University Explorers programme
  • Derby Scholars
  • Rise High Highfields
  • Care Experienced programme

Case Studies

Over the next few sections, you can learn about some of our key activities in more depth through a series of case studies that highlight the success of our widening access work, providing good evidence of the lasting impact on local young people.