Widening Participation

Widening Participation Strategy

Introduction to the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation Strategy.

Everyone deserves an equal opportunity to study at Edinburgh. Higher education, and a student experience at Edinburgh, has the power to transform lives, not just of those who come to study with us, but their families and communities.

Building on our values, and our commitment to having a positive impact on our local and global community, we are working to ensure that students from a wide range of diverse backgrounds thrive and feel a sense of belonging.

Read more about our work here:


For more detailed information please see our Guiding Principles here:


The Widening Participation Strategy was launched in October 2018 at an event with Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP – outlining a three-year plan to further improve access into higher education.

News article: 'Strategy builds on diversity milestone'  

Progress to date

Following the strategy launch:

We have met the Commission for Widening Access targets of 10% of our intake to come from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland 3 years ahead of schedule.  Our 195 students from SIMD20 represent 11% of this year’s UG intake.

We have launched a pilot secondary school partnership programme, Your Ed, to support more school students from low attaining or low-progression (to HE) schools into the University of Edinburgh. Read more about Your Ed here:

Your Ed: A Learning Partnership

We have established a new part-time Access route into the University of Edinburgh (to arts, humanities and social sciences degrees) and over the next few years we will be developing foundation and access routes into the University for further academic disciplines. Read more about our Access programme here:

Access Programme

To enhance the student experience for our current students from widening participation backgrounds we will provide additional funds to support participation in sports and student societies. Find out more about this here: 


The Edinburgh Cares Committee has been established to ensure we provide excellent holistic support for our care experienced students. Read more about our new Corporate Parenting Strategy and action plan here:

Corporate Parenting Strategy

This year, we have also been a founding partner in the Hub for SUCCESS– a service supporting care experienced students to access education. Read more about the Hub for SUCCESS here:


The new PTAS (Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme) launched in March 2019 with the theme of widening participation. Read more about this here:

Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme  

WP strategy implementation plan and group

This strategy is accompanied by a three-year implementation plan. To ensure the strategy is implemented, this plan is being overseen by a group of colleagues drawn from across the University.

To find out how you can get involved contact Laura Cattell, Head of Widening Participation: