Teachers as advocates for widening participation

Liz Thomas, Derek Bland, Vicky Duckworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract In England and Australia, higher education institutions (HEIs) are expected to widen participation (WP) in higher education (HE) to enhance social justice and improve individual and national economic returns. Furthermore, HEIs are the major providers of initial and in-service teacher education. This article surveys international literature to explore ways in which teacher education programmes could and do contribute to preparing teachers to advocate for WP, including drawing on learning from WP research that demonstrates the value of current HE students engaging young people in schools and colleges to support them in seriously considering progressing to HE. We conclude that teachers and pre-service teachers are well placed to be advocates for WP. In the majority of higher education institutions, however, WP and teacher education functions are not working collaboratively to embed advocacy for WP into teacher education programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-58
Number of pages19
JournalWidening Participation and Lifelong Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2012


  • Pre-service teacher education/initial teacher training
  • newly qualified teachers
  • widening participation
  • access to higher education
  • students as advocates/champions/ambassadors.

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