History of the national strategy for access and student success

Why we developed the national strategy

We developed the strategy in response to a request from Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in May 2012 (see Correspondence between BIS Ministers, OFFA and HEFCE).

Published by BIS in April 2014, the strategy challenges Government, universities, colleges, and national bodies including OFFA and HEFCE to make greater progress in ensuring that all those with the potential to benefit from higher education have equal opportunity to participate and succeed.

How we developed the strategy

We consulted with the higher education sector and looked at evidence of what works best to widen participation and ensure student success, both in the UK and abroad.

To maximise input from the sector, we consulted directly with stakeholders and received evidence from practitioners via a call for evidence, a LinkedIn online discussion group, and a series of roundtable meetings.

In January 2013, we submitted an interim report to Ministers at their request.

We submitted the full national strategy to Ministers in October 2013 and it was published by BIS in April 2014.

Aligning OFFA and HEFCE processes

As part of the national strategy we began developing, with HEFCE, an integrated process for institutions to replace the previous separate submissions for access agreements and widening participation strategic statements. We have jointly decided that it is not practical to introduce this new process. There is more information about this decision in our guidance note of 6 February 2014.