SYMPOSIUM: Hidden aspects of widening participation: uncovering the needs of student

  • Cullen, K. (Chair)
  • Helen Oram (Speaker)
  • Eleanor Hothersall (Speaker)
  • James Galloway (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Keywords: Keywords: widening access; widening participation; differential attainment Theme: Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI)
Symposium Chair: Dr Eleanor Hothersall, University of Dundee @e_hothersall Additional Contributors: Dr Helen Oram, Kings College London; Dr Kathy Cullen, Queens University Belfast; Dr James Galloway, Kings College London
Widening participation (WP) or widening access are terms for increasing recruitment of students from non-traditional backgrounds into professional education and careers. The driver behind this is to create a more balanced workforce, which has better representation of the populations that the healthcare system serves (1). However, non-traditional backgrounds are often more deprived: materially and educationally, and it is common for students from WP backgrounds to describe struggling to fit into the education system. WP students identify many barriers which have been previously overlooked, such as understanding the complex hierarchy of medical education. In addition, WP students are often more financially precarious, meaning they have paid work in addition to their studies, or they may have caring responsibilities which require significant additional time. These issues may mean that students are unable to achieve their academic potential. This symposium presents a number of case studies from UK undergraduate medical education, offering an opportunity to improve the experience of WP students, by exposing the hidden aspects of their experiences. The symposium will consist of short case studies, followed by a panel discussion with Q&A involving participants. The case studies will come from UK medical schools with experience of WP (Kings College and Queens University Belfast), and include a summary of policy work across Scotland to support WP students (University of Edinburgh). Findings from a recent survey of final year medical students will be used to explore the relationship between hours worked outside medical studies (paid employment, volunteering and caring responsibilities), income, and academic achievement. The potential impact of changes to teaching, such as shift work and weekend working, will be highlighted. The symposium will finish with a call to action for participants, to identify the hidden barriers for their students, and to work to expose and address them. References: 1. Selecting for Excellence Executive Group, Medical Schools Council. Selecting for excellence: final report. 2014.
Period13 Jul 2023
Event titleAssociation for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) July 2023 Conference: Developing a diverse workforce
Event typeConference
LocationUnited KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational