We are a thriving university with a deep commitment to transformational education. We have seen this transformation for over 180 years in our own University and continue to see it every day in our students, the partners we work with and in the communities we serve.

We are proud to consider ourselves a widening participation university. It is part of our DNA, stemming from our origins training teachers to educate poor children in the local region. In more recent years, we have been recognised for our sector leading work to support the access and participation of emerging under-represented student groups, in particular Care Leavers, Young Adult Carers, Service Children, and Asylum Seekers. 

We will continue to enhance our activities, develop our understanding through research, share best practice and encourage collaboration through networks, and promote transformational education, not just at Winchester but across the many communities we serve.   

Our Student Body

At Winchester, we recognise that many of our students may come from backgrounds that make them more likely to be at risk of equality of opportunity. For example: 

  • 40+ % are the first-in-family to attend higher education and may be more likely to face imposter syndrome and less likely to access networks to support them into graduate employment.  
  • 30+ % are eligible for student finance come from low-income households (under £25k) making them more likely to face financial hardship during their studies.  
  • 26+ % have a declared disability, with over 8% declaring a mental health condition, making them less likely to earn as much as their peers in their lifetime.
  • 21+ % are from the most deprived neighbourhoods with lower rates of access, success and progression.
  • 11+% are from non-white backgrounds and may be less likely to receive a ‘good honours’ degree or progress onto graduate employment than their white peers.

Our Strategy

The University is committed to ‘Our Vision for Transformational Education’ as outlined in our new Strategic Plan (2023-2028) 

The Access and Participation Plan is fundamentally guided by our strategic vision, deeply rooted in our original mission and purpose ‘To educate, serve the common good and advance knowledge’, guided by our reimagined values ‘love of learning, individual and shared endeavour, and making a difference’, and driven by the importance of people, place and partnerships.

Our Ambitions

We have identified a series of strategic aims to ensure equity in access and participation, as outlined below.


  • OUTREACH: To work with local communities to increase the low rates of pre-16 attainment and access into universities.
  • RECRUITMENT: To improve our recruitment and admissions activity to ensure equity of access onto our courses.
  • DIVERSITY OF PATHWAYS: To provide flexible and alternative pathways for progression to university that support the local skills gaps.

Success (on-course)

  • INCLUSION AND BELONGING: To create an inclusive learning and teaching environment that enhances transition, provides a ‘sense of belonging’ and enables students to reach their potential.
  • MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING: To ensure the university environment and experience supports the maintenance of good mental health and wellbeing for students to actively engage in their studies.
  • FINANCIAL SUPPORT: To provide support to students impacted by increased cost pressures that affect their ability to complete their course or obtain a good degree.
  • CLOSE AWARDING GAPS: To address gaps in degree outcomes via targeted academic and pastoral support interventions.

Progression (further study and graduate employment)

  • EMPLOYABILITY: To embed employability within the curriculum and provide targeted initiatives to support students less likely to progress to further study or graduate employment.

Our Partners

The University continues to work in partnership with a range of agencies and organisations to achieve its widening participation goals, including (but not exclusively):

  • Winchester Student Union and our student body.
  • Partner colleges and schools
  • Employers
  • Hampshire Children’s Services and other local authorities
  • Other universities
  • Voluntary sector agencies

We consider our students as key partners in our activity to widen access and participation.

We value the benefits of working collaboratively and are proud to be associated with the following groups and networks:

  • Action on Access
  • The Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT)
  • The National Network for the Education of Care Leavers (NNECL)
  • National Educational Opportunities Network (NEON)
  • The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance
  • The Southern Universities Network (SUN)
  • Hampshire Universities Together – Sanctuary Network


Our Achievements

We are proud to have been awarded the following acknowledgements in recognition of our commitment to widening access and participation, equality and diversity, social justice and impact:

  • Armed Forces Convenant Employer Recognition Scheme (Bronze Award)
  • National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) commendations in the 2019 Awards for HE Institution of the Year and Partnership of the Year
  • Social Enterprise Gold Mark
  • Stonewall Diversity Champion
  • Teaching Excellence Framework (Silver)
  • Times Higher Education Awards, Widening Participation of Outreach Initiative of the Year (Winner, 2016)

Review of this statement

We review this Access and Participation statement annually as part of our regular review of policies. We will update and re-publish this policy annually as required by condition A2 of the Office for Students Regulatory Framework. This version of the Access and Participation Statement was published on Tuesday 28 November 2023

Annual Fee Summary:

University of Winchester Fee Summary 2022-2023

2024 -2028 Plan:

University of Winchester Access and Participation Plan (2024-28)

Access and Participation Plan (2024-28) Executive Summary

2020-2025 Plan:

UoW 2020-21- 2024-25 Access and Participation Plan (Variation July 2022)

Access and Participation Summary - July 2022

2019/20 Plan:

University of Winchester 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan

University of Winchester 2019-20 APP Impact Report