Past Event details

Theory, Practice and Impact in Widening Participation: The NERUPI Framework

Friday, 24 February 2017

33Evaluating widening participation initiatives poses a major challenge for the HE sector and this seminar explores the development and application of a framework for designing and evaluating university-led widening participation activities. Drawing on the theoretical work of Bourdieu to identify the socio-economic  divisions that lead to differential participation in higher education, it aims to generate discussion within universities to examine their own exclusionary practices.

Firmly praxis-based, its design uses insights from practice and theory to promote the development of programmes and activities that set out to foster agency and a sense of belonging in HE settings for groups under-represented in higher education. Designed to be accessible to policy makers, academics, practitioners and non-specialists alike the Framework is based on five overarching aims and sets out to maximise the impact of Widening Participation interventions by providing a theoretical rationale for the types of intervention that are designed and delivered; setting out clear aims and learning outcomes for interventions; and rationalising and integrating evaluation processes to demonstrate impact using a range of indicators.

Initially developed at the University of Bath the Framework has been trialled as part of a network comprising several institutions  (NERUPI) and has proved effective in a variety of contexts. Participants at this seminar will have the opportunity to explore the theoretical basis of the framework, hear about its use in a variety of contexts and consider the next steps in its development and application.


Andrew Bengry-Howell is a Senior Lecturer at Bath Spa University and has worked in higher education for over ten years at the universities of Bath, Southampton and Birmingham as a researcher and lecturer. His research interests are in youth and identity and culture, as well as research methodologies.

Annette Hayton is Head of Widening Participation at the University of Bath and has many years of experience in managing widening participation activities. Annette is interested in how educational theory can be developed and applied in practice to promote positive change within the system.

Ciaran Burke is a lecturer in Sociology at Ulster University.  He is interested in the role of social class and gender on educational pathways and transitions into graduate employment.  His work adopts Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice to critically examine issues including widening participation, graduate identity formation, pedagogy and post-conflict society and policy sociology. 

 Catherine Kelly is a Project Officer for the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) based at Sheffield Hallam University and provides individualised training and support to HEAT members across the north of England. With a background in programme evaluation, Catherine is passionate about building practitioner capacity for evaluation, and as such is leading on the development of an evaluation planning tool within the HEAT database.

Richard Shiner is Head of Evidence and Effective Practice at OFFA where he is responsible for overseeing OFFA’s research function, collaborating with the sector to identify what research is needed to best enhance policy and guidance on effective practice. Richard has worked in the Evidence and Effective Practice team for the last two years after spending three years as a policy adviser at OFFA, and three years as a Planning Coordinator at HEFCE.

Network: Access and Widening Participation
Date(s): Friday, 24 February 2017
Times: 10.45-16.00
Location: SRHE, 73 Collier Street, London N1 9BE
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Event Files
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HEAT: Evaluation Planning Tool
Catherine Kelly Project Officer Developing a national service to help member universities target, monitor and evaluate outreach programmes
The importance of effective evaluation in widening participation
Richard Shiner Head of Evidence and Effective Practice OFFA
A praxis based framework for evaluation
Annette Hayton, University of Bath Andrew Bengry-Howell, Bath Spa University
The NERUPI framework as a lingua franca between practice and evaluation
Julian Crockford Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit The University of Sheffield
Bourdieu and widening participation
Dr. Ciaran Burke Twitter: Ciaranburkesoc
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