Access and Participation Plan

Access and Participation Plans set out how higher education providers will improve equality of opportunity for underrepresented groups to access, succeed in and progress from higher education. These Plans are regulated by the Office for Students (OfS) which has a statutory duty to promote equality of access to, and participation in, higher education in England.

Underrepresented groups include: students from areas of lower higher education participation, lower household income and/or lower socioeconomic status groups; some black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students; mature students; disabled students; care leavers; carers; people estranged from their families; people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; refugees; and children of military families.


Buckinghamshire New University’s 2020-24 Access and Participation Plan has been approved by the Director for Fair Access and Participation and applies to students starting at the University from the 2020-21 academic year until the 2024-25 academic year.

It includes our ambitions to improve equality of opportunity for all students to access, succeed in and progress from higher education, what we plan to do to achieve that ambition, the targets we have set, and the investment we will make to deliver the plan.

We are proud to attract a highly diverse student intake and are significantly above the sector average in our numbers of mature and Black, Asian and minority ethnic students. The diversity in our student body reflects our long-standing and highly successful work to reach out to underrepresented groups in higher education; to provide an environment and form of education that meets their needs; and to support them into high levels of graduate employment. Building on our success, and consistent with our mission, we are developing our widening participation work still further in order to pioneer routes into higher education for the hardest-to-reach communities.

In our Plan we have set the following objectives to:

  • Increase the rates of access for students from the areas of lowest higher education participation.
  • Increase in the proportion of students declaring a disability.
  • Increase in the number of students declaring care-leaver status.
  • Adopt a new and ambitious focus on groups where equality may be harder to achieve (with a focus on young carers, children from military families, and students identifying as being from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.
  • Maintain high levels of equality in relation to access for all groups.
  • Close the small attainment gap between BAME and White students; between students from the most deprived and least deprived areas; and between male and female students. (Attainment is measured in terms of those who achieve a 1st or 2.1 degree award vs other classification).
  • Nurture an academic community to which students feel they belong to ensure strong retention for all learners.
  • Improve the rates of highly skilled employment for students from the areas of lowest participation; young students; and for BAME students.
  • Increase the opportunities for all students to enter highly skilled employment or further study.

We will work with internal and external stakeholders, including our student body to ensure we meet our ambitious targets.

Other plans

Previously Access and Participation Plans were submitted annually, and applied to students who started in the academic year indicated. For example, the 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan applies to students starting in 2019-20.

Buckinghamshire New University’s 2019-20 Access and Participation Plan applies to students starting at the University in the 2019-20 academic year. You can find older plans and more information on the OfS website.

Related information

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

We are committed to equal opportunity across all the 'protected characteristics' defined in the Equality Act 2010. Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) underpins our values and influences everything we do. Visit our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion page to find out more.

OfS Transparency return 2019

This shows application, offer and enrolment data by reference to gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. Please note that this does not include students at partner colleges which ARE included in Access & Participation data. Find out more on our Transparency Return page.