Discourses of ‘Fair Access’ in English higher education: what do institutional statements tell us about university stratification and market positioning?

Hughes, Jonathan and Bowl, Marion (2013). Discourses of ‘Fair Access’ in English higher education: what do institutional statements tell us about university stratification and market positioning? In: British Sociological Association Annual Conference: Engaging Sociology, 3-5 Apr 2013, London, UK.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5456/wpll.15.4.7

Abstract

An analysis was conducted of the OFFA Access agreements and university publicity of eight universities in one English region. The HEIs comprised two ‘Russell Group’, one ‘Non-aligned’, three ‘Million Plus’ and two ‘Guild Group’ institutions.
The analysis finds cautious, qualified and ambivalent responses from universities.This reflects policy uncertainty and confusion as well as mission group differences which are clearest between the Russell Group HEIs and the rest. The analysis also finds that widening participation language is used as a marketing tool and that OFFA is failing to police Access Agreements.

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