Impact and Effectiveness of Widening Access to HE in Wales Working Paper Series 1, WAQLCE2014-9

In recognition of inequitable rates of participation in higher education amongst individuals from different social groups, the Welsh Government has implemented policies putatively aimed at widening access to HE amongst social groups traditionally underrepresented therein (Welsh Government, 2009). Given the Welsh Government’s emphasis on widening access to HE in Wales in recent years, there are important questions about the extent to which, and how, national policies are implemented on regional, institutional and departmental levels. The implementation of national level policies on regional and institutional levels is explored elsewhere (papers WAQLCE2014-8 and WAQLCE2014-52). In this paper I explore the extent to which national widening access policies cascade down through institutional widening access strategies and are implemented on a departmental level within HEIs. This consideration provides a platform on which to speculate about the potential impacts of departmental practices on rates of access and participation of students traditionally underrepresented in HE.