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No creative journey is the same but we know that inspiring your students, whatever their ambition, is at the heart of what we do in creative education.

Learning to ‘Level-Up’? Supporting Working-Class Boys’ Progression to Higher Education

Join us in partnership with University of Portsmouth and University of Winchester for an exciting conference for HE practitioners. We'll explore how we can better support working-class boys’ educational attainment and progression to Higher Education.

Widening Participation Research and Practice Conference

Date: Thursday 8 September 2022

For the last decade, discourse on the rate of progression to Higher Education for working-class boys has been a persistent focus of politicians, educators, and those with an interest in equitable access to educational opportunity. However, despite focus on the issue in media and political conversation, gaps in GCSE attainment remain significant, and rates of progression to Higher Education remain low.

In 2019, a review by the Office for Students of Access and Participation Plans suggested that of the 838 targets set relating to university access, success and progression by providers, only 11 gave specific mention to working-class males.

As such, Arts University Bournemouth, the University of Portsmouth and the University of Winchester are convening a joint conference for Higher Education practitioners to explore what can be done, and how, to better support working-class boys’ educational attainment and progression to Higher Education.

Call for Abstracts

Hosted at Arts University Bournemouth, this one-day conference will bring together practitioners and researchers conducting activity to support working class boys’ educational progression. It will provide a space to disseminate research and learn from evidence-based practice. We would welcome abstracts from the following areas of research and/or practice:

  • Closing the gap in working-class boys’ educational attainment
  • Support working-class boys’ progression to Higher Education
  • Understanding barriers to working-class boys’ educational attainment
  • Understanding barriers to working-class boys’ Higher Education progression
  • Understanding the implications of socio-economic inequality for boys’ educational engagement
  • Understanding the implications of peer pressure in boys’ educational engagement
  • Understanding the implications of poor mental health for working-class boys’ wellbeing and educational engagement

Presentations at the conference will follow two formats. Delegates can submit an abstract for the presentation either in the form of a research paper or a workshop presentation.

Format: 20 minute presentation

Abstract: 300 words

Reviewing criteria:

  • Clarity of the focus of the research
  • Originality of the research
  • Rigour of the research
  • Significance of the research for education practice, policy or theory relating to working-class boys’ progression to Higher Education

Format: 45 minute interactive workshop

Abstract: 300 words

These must be highly participatory sessions that place audience interaction and learning at their heart.

Reviewing criteria:

  • Clarity and relevance of the participant learning outcomes
  • Suitability of the session format
  • Evidence base informing the session
  • Significance of the proposal for practice and policy relating to working-class boys’ progression to Higher Education

The deadline for abstract submissions is midnight on Friday 1 July 2022.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss submitting a research paper/workshop session abstract, get in touch with Alex Blower, Access and Participation Manager.

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