Widening Participation - Frequently Asked Questions

What does Widening Participation mean? 

Watch our sixty-second video to learn more. 

Who is eligible for Widening Participation activities? 

To take part in our activities students must meet one or more of the below criteria:  

*A younger carer is someone age 18 or under who helps look after a relative who has a condition, such as a disability, illness, mental health condition or a drug or alcohol problem.

**Estranged means that you are not supported by/not in communication with both of your parents.

The majority of our activities are open to eligible students from any state school pan-London.

However, a limited number are only open to students from schools and colleges within our 11 target boroughs

GCSE and/or A level requirements are applied to some activities.

Which schools do you work with? 

The majority of our work is open to eligible students pan London, however, a small number are publicised solely to priority schools within the below 11 target boroughs in London and Essex.  

Using national data we have identified 11 target boroughs for our work. This publicly available data relates to free school meals, areas of high deprivation and rates of participation in higher education.    

The 11 London boroughs we target are:

Barking and Dagenham, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Thurrock, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest


Queen Mary has official long-standing partnerships with two local schools.  The university is not currently looking to partner with any other schools.

However, what the Widening Participation department are keen to do, is build relationships with teachers and staff members in more of the schools in our 11 target boroughs which have high proportions of eligible students. We do this by meeting with staff members from schools to discuss what we do. Please contact wp-enquiries@qmul.ac.uk if you are unsure whether we have any connection with your school. 

Building relationships with teachers and staff members in our local schools is crucial to our work in Widening Participation. Often this consists of just one member of staff in a school or college keeping in regular contact with us and offering us feedback. This can often mean that if that staff member moves on we lose contact with the school. 

How can teachers keep up to date with activities taking place? 

Teachers pan-London can sign up to receive the 30-second read, a monthly e-bulletin containing details of many of the activities and programmes taking place across Queen Mary. This includes outreach activities that are taking place on campus which are not necessarily widening participation focused.  


I am a Queen Mary member of staff, how can I get involved in WP?

Please view our internal intranet pages for advice about planning, organising and delivering outreach activities. 

If you are running an outreach activity in your department and would like this promoting to schools please view the intranet pages for details of the information we require and who to send it to. Our E-Bulletin - the 30-second read - is sent out to over 800 school contacts on a monthly basis. 


I am a current student at Queen Mary, how can I get involved in WP?

We could not run our programmes without the invaluable knowledge and insight of our Student Ambassadors and PASS Student Organisers

Applications to become a Widening Participation Student Ambassador usually open in May each year and close the week after Fresher’s Fayre. We host a stall during Fresher’s Fayre, please come and talk to us if you have any questions about the role of student ambassadors. Positions are advertised on the Careers Jobs and work experience webpage.


What is your approach to safeguarding? 

The Widening Participation team and their student ambassadors have received safeguarding training and undertake enhanced DBS checks.

Queen Mary staff who require advice about safeguarding should check the intranet page found in the ARC Policy Zone,  A - Z policies.


How do you evaluate and monitor the impact of your work? 

To evaluate the impact of our work we use the Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT). Information about the students who take part in our activities is recorded in this secure database. 

We have a dedicated webpage to explain the Widening Participation Data Protection Privacy Notice


What activities have you delivered in the past?

Every year around September time we produce a yearbook of the activities delivered the previous academic year. Below is the yearbook for 2016-17 along with information about specific programmes which are not available in 2018/19. 

WP Yearbook 2016-17 [PDF 2,271KB]

Year 10 Boys, Books, and Blogging

A group of Year 10 boys from Eastbury Community School in Barking worked with us for four months on this reading project. As part of the sessions, the boys were encouraged to write blogs (which are still live, please click the link above) reflecting on what they were reading, when they were reading and the programme overall. The aim was to understand and potentially challenge their views about reading. The blogs from the boys who took part in 2016 are also still live.

Year 12 Engineering Spring School

This programme ran from Monday 12 – Friday 16 February 2018 

Students learned about the career opportunities available from a variety of engineering fields including:

  • aerospace
  • mechanical
  • medical
  • electronic
  • plus computer and material sciences.

Students worked on a group project, conducted experiments, did research and experienced university life in general by working with current students and academic staff.  

Year 12 Youth Forum

The Youth Forum ran at Queen Mary from October 2016 - March 2017.

The final poster, which youth forum participants designed, and their feedback are being showcased on a dedicated webpage

A Youth Forum is a space for young people to have their views heard, discuss issues, generate ideas and influence decision makers. Participants discussed topics such as how to best communicate with young people and what information and activities are most useful in making decisions about university.


Follow us on Twitter @QMULWP 

This page is maintained by the Widening Participation Team. Contact: wp-enquiries@qmul.ac.uk