At the ICMP we are committed to developing an inclusive and supportive environment where all are able to participate and where everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. As part of this activity, we have produced an Access and Participation Plan (APP) which has been approved by the Office for Students (OfS) and is available here:
Like the OfS, we believe that everyone should have equal opportunity to benefit from higher education if it's right for them. That means equal opportunity to enter higher education; complete the course; get a good degree; and go on to a graduate-level job or postgraduate study afterwards. We understand that some groups of people are less likely to achieve the qualifications needed to study in higher education and these gaps in achievement are apparent from a young age. There is also inequality between groups once they get into higher education and some people are more likely to do well than others, even when their prior academic performance is the same.
We understand that higher education can improve and indeed transform lives for those who gain access to and succeed in it, while entrenching disadvantage for those who don’t. It can compound the social mobility problem or contribute to its solution. We want to be more representative of wider society and reduce the attainment gaps between underrepresented groups and other groups. We also want to work in more effective ways to improve access and participation so that the considerable investments we make have the greatest possible impact.
Access and participation plans set out how higher education providers will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education. Specifically, our plan covers our ambition for change; what we plan to do to achieve that change; the targets we have set; and the investment we will make to deliver the plan. It covers the three main areas identified by the OfS as follows:
Access: To increase the entry rates of students from underrepresented groups to higher education, in particular reducing the participation gaps at the most selective providers, where they are the widest; and to reverse the decline in higher education participation by mature students from underrepresented groups.
Success: To reduce the non-continuation rates (commonly known as 'drop-out rates') of students from underrepresented groups, particularly those from minority ethnic groups and those with disabilities, and to reduce the gaps between these groups and other students; and to reduce the attainment gaps between students from underrepresented groups, particularly those from minority ethnic groups and those with disabilities, and those from other groups.
Progression: To improve the rates of progression of students from underrepresented groups, particularly those from minority ethnic groups and those with disabilities, into graduate-level employment or further study, and to reduce the gaps between these groups and other students.