Guest Voices

The experiences of Working Class people in Higher Education are at the core of everything that we do in PURSUE. There are many organisations dedicated to Widening Participation and Class in Education that we want to showcase. Collectively, our voices show the richness, barriers, attitudes and successes of our members, supporters, friends and students.

If you’d like us to feature your work on the blog, please get in touch via our contacts page.

T Levels Week – Taking Vocational Education to the Next Level?

This week sees the latest National T Levels week celebrated across the country.  There has been much activity amongst advocates and supporters of this ‘Next Level Qualification’, but in terms of wider consciousness around T Levels and what their implementation means for the Level 3 qualification landscape, there remains much to do. Since 2017, ministersContinue reading “T Levels Week – Taking Vocational Education to the Next Level?”

‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

3/3. Written by Chris Bayes. “talent is spread equally across our country, opportunity is not” and seeks to redress this “giving everyone the opportunity to flourish.” The ‘Brave New World’ of Levelling Up At a recent NEON Summit on Regional disparities in widening access and higher education’s contribution to levelling up, one speaker (Stephen Pomfret,Continue reading ‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

2/3 Written By Chris Bayes. The industry of Social Mobility Over the course of the two past decades, Social Mobility has increasingly become intertwined with WP.  This is perhaps unsurprising, given it has been championed successively by New Labour and Conservative administrations and is easier to reconcile the below definition with the values of neoliberalsContinue reading ‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

Article Piece 1/3 Written By Chris Bayes Shifting Sands The political landscape does not stand still for very long.  Labour’s most successful 20th century Prime Minister, Harold Wilson (Yes, he won four elections to Tony Blair’s three and unlike BLiar managed to avoid tarnishing his legacy by keeping Britain’s involvement in Vietnam to lukewarm verbalContinue reading ‘Juxtaposed with U’ – The problem with Social Mobility and Levelling Up

(Vocational) Education (reform) is over-rated and T Levels are the monster it created

Written by Chris Bayes. Like many of my practitioner brethren, it would be fair to say my journey to becoming a widening participation (WP) practitioner was not exactly linear.  Prior to commencing a career in WP in 2007, I worked (in chronological order) as a paperboy, a factory worker, a retail assistant, a barman cumContinue reading “(Vocational) Education (reform) is over-rated and T Levels are the monster it created”

‘This Is How It Feels’ – Personal reflections during Mental Health Awareness week

Chris Bayes This week marks Mental Health Awareness week.  As stated on the Mental Health Foundation’s website here, “The week will explore the experience of loneliness, its effect on our mental health and how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities.” Loneliness affects millions each year and is commonly recognisedContinue reading “‘This Is How It Feels’ – Personal reflections during Mental Health Awareness week”

‘’There’s nothing more dangerous to power than a working class person with a thirst for knowledge”

It was a very proud day for both myself and my family when I was accepted to study BSc (Hons) Public Sociology at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, which is located outside of Edinburgh. When I attended my first day, I was, I have to say, reminded of the theme tune from the tv sitcomContinue reading “‘’There’s nothing more dangerous to power than a working class person with a thirst for knowledge””

Making University Truly Accessible

PURSUE would like to invite colleagues and supporters to our latest online event on 10th December: ‘Making university truly accessible to working class people’ and to launch our new PURSUE podcast ‘The Open Circle’. 

Unlocking Opportunity: Accessing Higher Education with a Criminal Record

Charlotte Brooks Doctoral Researcher, University of Nottingham A criminal record can be devastating, lifelong and far outweigh the harm caused by the official punishment itself. For instance, people with a criminal record can be subjected to discrimination within employment and experience challenges when accessing housing and education. Yet restricted access to opportunities and basic rightsContinue reading “Unlocking Opportunity: Accessing Higher Education with a Criminal Record”

Working to the Same Goals

A case study of Southampton Hub’s work at Student Hubs Sophie Ford and Fiona Walsh, Student Hubs As a charity working within the higher education sector, Student Hubs has a unique point of view on working with communities, students, and higher education colleagues to enact change. We work in partnership with five UK universities, reachingContinue reading “Working to the Same Goals”

Let them eat data: Education, widening participation and the digital divide

The Quest for Answers As an education sector we like answers, answers for everything, right or wrong. Sometimes we’re more concerned with arriving at an answer, than we are with ensuring it tackles the issue addressed by the question. Widening HE participation is led by policy that dictates which answers we provide to what questionsContinue reading “Let them eat data: Education, widening participation and the digital divide”

What’s wrong with the ‘disadvantaged’?

Exactly that – there’s nothing wrong with them. However there is a lot wrong with the term ‘disadvantaged’ and it should not be used by widening participation practitioners, and we should challenge other professionals who use this term- whether that be policy makers, politicians or educationalists. I have four main issues with the term ‘disadvantaged’:Continue reading “What’s wrong with the ‘disadvantaged’?”

Reaching Beyond the School Gate: Making University Outreach More Meaningful

I began working in university outreach back in 2012. Since then, universities have – quite rightly – been under increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of their widening participation activities. Across the sector, the most common model of student engagement focuses on schools. We look at educational institutions that have a large proportion of studentsContinue reading “Reaching Beyond the School Gate: Making University Outreach More Meaningful”

Don’t Talk to me About Aspirations; The language of disadvantage.

This blog is based around a 2-year research project working with young men engaged with statutory or community provision during 2018 and 19 who accessed youth provision via the ‘Children and Young Peoples Partnership’ at Lancaster University.  “Don’t talk to me about aspirations, who says what I should or shouldn’t be lad, mi dad’s aContinue reading “Don’t Talk to me About Aspirations; The language of disadvantage.”

It’s Class, mate

Ah. Class. The word that shalt not be spoken. Since I began working in the area of Widening Participation in 2005, my background has been described as “disadvantaged”, “economically disadvantaged”, “POLAR Quintile One”, “from a Low Participation Neighbourhood”, “a WP learner”, “a Pupil Premium student” but rarely “working class”. Strange, that. Growing up in StokeContinue reading “It’s Class, mate”

PURSUE Launch Event

Practitioners from Underrepresented Sections United through Education PURSUE Network Launch Tuesday 15th December 10am-12.45pm  (Optional open meeting 2-3pm) Working Class defines people of every gender, ethnicity, religion and cultural background. PURSUE are a network of Higher Education practitioners who have come together to champion the richness and diversity of  working class culture. The network lobbiesContinue reading “PURSUE Launch Event”

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