Widening Participation

Lancaster has a committed approach to widening participation and understands that some students face a number of barriers and obstacles when considering university.

We know that for many students who come from a non-traditional university background, even thinking about applying to university is a big step. We want to ensure that future applicants to Lancaster are not held back by any barriers and that our student cohort reflects the diverse society that we live in.

Our Widening Participation team offer a variety of free outreach activities for school and college groups both on and off campus and in schools including talks, workshops, Masterclasses and residential stays. All activities are aimed at students in Years 11 through to 13. We also work with teachers, parents and careers advisors to make sure that students receive the best information when researching their Higher Education options.

Campus Day Visits

Our campus day visits are designed to give a general introduction to higher education. Students will work with current Lancaster University students to discuss topics including Student Life, Student Finance and Barriers to Higher Education and will also work on UCAS and Personal Statements. The visit to Lancaster also includes a chance to see our first class facilities during a tour of the campus. Groups can participate in many academic taster sessions during their visit, giving the opportunity to experience a taste of studying at university.

Academic Masterclasses

Our academic masterclasses are designed to support academic excellence and provide students with the opportunity to spend a day working alongside academics and PhD students at Lancaster. Our Masterclasses provide specialist and expert teaching which can enhance learning alongside a student’s curriculum at school or college.

This activity can also be developed for gifted and talented groups, to stretch and challenge learners and provide them with an opportunity to experience learning at university level.

Masterclasses and campus visits can be booked at a time and date to suit you and a tailor made timetable will be created for each visit. To book any activity please contact the outreach team via outreach@lancaster.ac.uk or 01524 593244

Target Lancaster Mentoring Programme

Our Target Lancaster Mentoring programme works with Year 12 students (mentees) from widening participation backgrounds, and provides a sustained programme of interventions designed to inspire, motivate, build confidence and encourage students to progress to university.

Mentees work with current Lancaster students (mentors) on a number of in school/college sessions based around the questions and issues mentees have about university. Mentees and mentors are matched through shared areas of academic interest.

The Target Uni Mentoring programme culminates in a final day visit to Lancaster University where mentees can mix with others involved in the programme, meet with Lancaster academics and admissions tutors and find out firsthand about student life and a campus university.

All mentees who successfully complete the Target Uni Mentoring programme and choose to make Lancaster University one or more of their UCAS choices, will receive a “guaranteed offer” at standard level for most subject areas. To be eligable for the offer mentees must attend at least two mentoring sessions in school/college and the final day visit to Lancaster. 

To qualify for the programme mentees must be capable of achieving at least ABB level at A-level (or equivalent) and meet one or more of the following widening participation criteria:

  • Their parents must not have been to University except as mature students
  • They are in care, or a care leaver cared for by someone other than their parents
  • They received a free school meal not paid for by their family
  • They receive the 16-19 bursary
  • They have a disability they feel may limit their options for university

For more information please contact Kate Haywood (Outreach Officer) on k.haywood@lancaster.ac.uk or 01524 592747.

Residential visits

For more information see our Summer Schools Page

For more information about outreach and widening participation please contact Leanne Bates – Assistant Head of UKSRO.


National Networks for Collaborative Outreach

Lancaster University has joined other North West H.E. and F.E. institutions in two networks under HEFCE’s National Networks for Collaborative Outreach (NNCO).

The aim of the network is to provide schools and colleges with a Single Point of Contact (SPoC) to support teachers and stakeholders in accessing information about outreach and widening participation activities offered by the partner institutions involved in the network.

We are part of the following networks:

Cumbria and Lancashire Network for Collaborative Outreach www.cumbrialancsoutreach.ac.uk

Please visit these sites to access information about the range of activities offered across the North West for school pupils in Year 7-11, as well as other key influencers.

Information regarding activity available from Lancaster University as part of the network will be available soon.