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Access and Participation Statement

Access and Participation Statement May 2018

Cardinal Newman College has a genuine commitment to widening participation of its Higher Education Courses and we regularly monitor our progress against set targets relating to student access, their success and their meaningful progression.

Our city central location, our easily accessible campus, the earn and learn approach to work-based learning course delivery together with careful consideration of course design and a personalised approach to student support and guidance reinforces and reflects our determined efforts to be an attractive option for students from all backgrounds.

In particular, our provision is ideal for and targeted to those people for whom relinquishing paid employment in order to study is not a viable option, mature students who have not studied for some time, those who for a number of reasons wish to gain work experience alongside study rather than paid employment and people who wish to study close to home. Outcomes for our first graduates in 2017 were positive with 100% now in employment or education (DHLE 2018).

Analysis of our student data reflects increasing trends in student enrolments of mature students, ‘anyone over the age of 21 who didn’t go to university after school or college,’ ( and those from BME groups.

Year Mature student numbers Black and Minority Ethnicity student numbers 
2015 69% 0
2016 62.5% 12.5%
2017 77% 23.5%


Between 2015 and 2017 four students have withdrawn from their courses, including two BME students and one mature student. Thus it is these two specific groups of students who we identify as our access and participation priority and we commit to taking further action to make improvements.

Strategically we use every opportunity to reflect on our student demographic analysing and adapting our procedures to ensure that our small number of higher education courses continue to meet the needs and aspirations of our local community, maintain their very high quality and provide outstanding outcomes and opportunities for our graduates. The feedback we regularly seek from our students is central to this and in the National Student Survey (2017) there was 100% reported student satisfaction in their HE courses.

We commit to promoting Access through:

  • Collaborating with local employers to ensure clarity of the information and guidance we provide relating to our suite of higher education courses integral to this is:
  1. To continue to provide bespoke visits by our Higher Education teachers to organisations such as schools to provide bespoke information, advice and guidance to all staff and leave literature for later perusal and discussion.
  2. To promote the value of our Work-Based link tutor role where HE students are visited in their workplaces providing individual support and guidance to students and their mentors.
  3. Seeking guidance from organisations to ensure our HE provision is current, relevant and meets employer and student needs and aspiration.
  • Maintaining our approach to informal, timely and regular HE ‘Drop-in’ advice events advertised using a range of mediums to enable prospective students can access individual advice and guidance.
  • Encouraging the involvement of our HE students in our approach to advice and support for both prospective and enrolled students this includes:
  1. Actively seeking prospective students to visit on our HE day to meet with our current students.
  2. Encouraging our graduates to be visiting speakers.
  3. Utilising widely Video clips displaying student experiences available to view on the college website.
  4. Reflecting student success and progression on marketing literature.
  • Maintaining our free car park for student use directly outside the HE building after 3 pm.
  • Reviewing regularly our HE area on the college website to ensure it is easily accessible, unambiguous, includes a variety of mediums for information and is consistent with the college’s HE vision.
  • An essentially student-focused, review and evaluation of the application, interview, enrolment and induction processes to ensure they are perceived as non-threatening, minimally bureaucratic, seamless and student centred. Strategies include:
  1. To promote a variety of application options, completed online or as hard copy.
  2. Applications are processed in college so there is no application fee.
  3. Following receipt of an application, the applicant is invited into college to meet with the Programme Lead.
  4. Interviews are held during the summer term in the late afternoon/evening, applicants can select the desired time of their interview. Interviews are informal with bespoke information, support and guidance provided by a member of the HE team.
  5. Enrolment and Induction processes are seamless and have been developed using student feedback. The approach is essentially to provide a clear overview of the course and HE expectations. Induction style activities are delivered throughout the early weeks of all courses threaded through and into learning and teaching.

We commit to promoting Success and Progression through:

  • Meticulous analysis and sharing of grades awarded, at all meetings integral to quality assurance to identify any differences in achievement between groups of students.
  • Maintain clear and accessible channels of communication between students and the HE team every day so students receive high levels of academic and social support and guidance.
  • Utilising the study skill and research module that are integral to L4 and L5 study seeking and evaluating student and teacher evaluations.
  • To continue to embed referencing and research skill development seamlessly into course delivery from Induction and throughout the courses using student feedback to inform delivery to best meet student needs and preferences.
  • Holding regular student focus group meetings with our resource manager to focus on student perception of our academic resources, outcomes presented and evaluated at each meeting is integral to quality assurance.
  • To promote the value of guest speakers from industry to complement established careers advice and guidance available to our HE students to support aspiration and career decision making processes.
  • Promoting our new work-based L6 BA To-Up, designed to complement our existing Foundation Degrees enabling students the opportunity to obtain a degree in the establishment to which they are familiar.

Our ambition is to be a hub of higher education excellence that our immediate local community believe is accessible to them and they want to be part of.

The College has a privileged town centre location, bounded by Avenham and Frenchwood which has the most disadvantaged decile of the Index of Multiple Depreciation 2015, (  In these areas over two-thirds of the population live in social housing or the private rented sector and one-third of the population is from a Black or Minority Ethnic community. Currently, no student has enrolled on our HE courses from an Avenham or Frenchwood address.

We commit to:

  • Liaising with local community groups to explore the educational needs and preferences of our local community, identify potential barriers they see to accessing higher education and construct an approach to supporting access and participation in the long term.
  • Raising awareness of HE opportunities across the local community to include:
  1. Provision of information, advice and guidance specifically designed and targeted to all residents of Frenchwood and Avenham.
  2. To hold personalised local community HE ‘Drop-In’ events to which local residents will be invited an opportunity to visit the college, speak on a 1:1 basis with HE teachers, look around the facilities used by HE students and ask questions.

Our commitment to supporting our students

We recognise that for many people Higher Education can be daunting, at Cardinal Newman College we have in place a range of support strategies so our students can achieve success and have a positive experience. We continually evaluate the way in which we support our students using essentially student feedback throughout the year. We have a robust student voice cycle to methodically gather student views but also capture feedback informally at all other times. All feedback is analysed during all meetings integral to our quality assurance framework and shared with governors using IRIS Technology and with student groups via the student representatives.

We acknowledge that our HE students have different educational experiences, qualification types and workplace experiences and we invest time in preparing them individually for and supporting them through, their HE courses. We evaluate our course information and guidance materials to ensure they are clear, easily accessible and reflect our HE courses accurately, we are committed to enrolling our students with integrity.

To ensure that students have access to equipment to support their educational success we have invested in a set of HE lap-tops, available to loan from the library. Our library has extended opening hours on our HE day and on other days by arrangement. Our library manager is integral to the HE team and provides extended support with groups and on a 1:1 basis with students with study skills such as referencing and academic research.

Work experience is pivotal to our courses for those students who require help with volunteering placements we have a wealth of experience and contacts. For those seeking paid employment we provide references and offer interview guidance and practice. Our work-based link tutor, a HE teacher who visits students and their mentors in the workplace is valuable to reinforce the work-based nature of our courses.

For other student support needs, we have for them a designated HE administrator who helps students with student loan queries, provides support during the application and enrolment processes and can provide advice on a range of social queries such as housing or welfare.


Access Statement


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