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Widening Participation and UK Student Recruitment

The Access, Participation and Outreach Team and Student Recruitment Operations Team work to help the University meet its access and participation, student recruitment, and income generation objectives. We work in the following areas:

The teams are critical to the University's efforts to recruit a diverse student community, providing information, advice and guidance to tens of thousands of prospective students annually face to face and online. In addition to leading on schools strategy, recruitment exhibitions and campus events to support UK and PGT student recruitment, we also hold virtual events and summer schools to help recruit students internationally.

Recruitment events

We deliver a number of events and opportunities both on and off campus to encourage prospective students to apply to the University of Exeter and accept their place with us.  Each of our events has been developed to cater for the particular needs of prospective students at each stage of their decision-making process.

> Undergraduate Open Days

We usually hold five pre-applicant Open Days across our Exeter and Penryn campuses during the year. Held in early summer and during the autumn, these provide great opportunities for prospective students to visit the University before they make an application. The events are organised by the team and involve all academic colleges, the Student Guild/FXU and a range of professional services. Attracting around 40,000 visitors annually, these events are the most significant influence on propensity to apply.

> Postgraduate Open Days

We usually hold three postgraduate open days each year – two at Streatham and one at Penryn – usually in October and March. The open days are open to current students hoping to progress into further study and also students taking their degree programmes from Universities across the UK. Students have the opportunity to find out more about their chosen course, meet with tutors and/or supervisors, and learn about the funding opportunities available. Organised jointly between the team, Marketing, Academic Colleges and the Doctoral College, they are attended by around 500 students annually.

> Offer Holder Visit Days

We hold a series of Offer Holder Visit Days at our Exeter and Cornwall Campuses between February and April each year. These events, which are attended by around 5,000 students (around 27% of offer holders) provide prospective students who have already been made an offer of a place the opportunity to find out more detail about their chosen programme before they make a final decision about accepting their offer. Each of these events can attract up to 1,800 visitors. Booking is essential and only offer-holders are invited to book a place. The online booking system opens in September/October in line with the first offers being sent out to applicants.

The Offer-Holder Visit Days are based within Academic Colleges, but are supported by a range of centrally organised activities. 

> Campus tours

Guided Campus Tours take place at Penryn, St Lukes and Streatham campuses throughout the year. These events provide prospective students who are not able to attend an Open Day the opportunity to see the campus and the facilities the University has to offer. The tours are led by current Student Ambassadors and can accommodate up to 18 visitors per tour. Booking is essential for all tours and can be made online.

Visitors who are unable to attend a Campus Tour can conduct a self-guided tour using a leaflet and/or audio podcasts which are available to download on our website.  Virtual tours are also available to view online.

> School visits on campus

We regular host school visits on campus and provide a range of activities including advice and guidance sessions, workshops and campus tours. We normally host these on Wednesdays during term time and give preference to schools who meet our widening participation or recruitment criteria.

> Recruitment events in schools  

The team meets thousands of prospective students each year at HE Fairs organised by schools and colleges. We also provide advice and guidance on the applications process and deliver presentations to school groups, assemblies and parents’ evenings.

> Online outreach 

The Access, Participation and Outreac Team runs a series of online outreach events via our Discover University platform including student Q&As, online lectures, advice and guidance sessions, parent and carers advice workshops, and tailored information sessions for a range of student groups.

> Virtual Open Days

The Student Recruitment Operations Team runs a series of virtual open days throughout the recruitment cycle for pre-applicants and offer-holders. The events provide opportunities to ask questions and find out more about what the university has to offer and are particularly useful for students who find it difficult to travel for geographical, financial or logistical reasons. The events are hosted on our virtual open day platform which is managed by the team and include subject-specific and international events.  

The team leads on building relationships with schools and colleges to support student recruitment and/or widening participation objectives and supports thousands of school pupils each year. 

Schools and Colleges relationship management

We visit schools all over the UK, seeing tens of thousands of pupils every year. The team delivers workshops, advice and guidance, WP and other activities. We also fund online resources and tools for pupils and organise annual HE Advisors conferences at Streatham and Penryn Campuses.

We take a strategic approach to working with schools and colleges based on a number of factors such as student profile and performance, location, and willingness to engage. Outreach Officers work with schools and colleges within specific regions across the UK, building effective local relationships and mutually agreed support plans for target schools. Schools are able to book activities on site and on campus via our online booking system, and our schools database is available as a resource to help colleagues who wish to make contact with schools for engagement or research purposes.

Support for educators

We provide a variety of support for people working in schools. Around 100 teachers and advisers engage in our HE Advisers’ events. The events held in February provide general information, advice and guidance about the application process and more specifically what we look for from prospective students. In addition, there is a focus on relevant sector-wide issues such as mental health and student welfare. We also host the annual South West Academic Trust conference and are represented on the board. The team also works with the Graduate School of Education in providing training for University academic and professional services staff conducting outreach in schools.

Visit our Teachers pages

The team leads on the development, evaluation and monitoring of our institutional access and participation strategy and in addition has operational responsibility for improving access.

We believe in the principle that everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education should have equal opportunity to do so. Our goals are to widen participation in higher education; raise pupil attainment; and put students on a level playing field to ensure they enjoy the best possible outcomes at University and as graduates.

Access and participation governance and planning  

The team leads on the development, evaluation and monitoring of our institutional access and participation strategy which is contained in our Access and Participation Plan and also coordinates and support our Success for All programme. Our institutional governance is as follows:

  • Success for All Strategy Group – chaired by DVC Education, this group brings senior academic, professional services and student representatives together to provide senior leadership across outreach, access, student success and progression.  Contact Nicola Sinclair.
  • Success for All Working Groups - we have working groups focusing on closing gaps in student outcomes across the student journey including: Access; Transition and Induction; Inclusive Education and Progression. Special interest groups focus on key topics: Mature Students; Under-represented Students; Student Funding; Widening Participation in Postgraduate Study and International Student Experience.Contact Nicola Sinclair.
  • College Groups – there is an annual planning process for discipline specific activities which is coordinated by College leads within the team and signed off through College Executive or Educational Strategy Groups. Contact Mel Ruddock.
  • Success for All Student Panel – in addition to student representation on individual groups, this student panel acts as a consultative group to make sure the needs of a diverse range of students are taken into account.Contact Sam Dyer.

Evaluation and evidence-based decision making  

With a commitment of around £16m annually to widening participation it is important that our strategy is based on evidence and is properly evaluated to ensure we are making an impact and improving outcomes for students.

The team leads on the evaluation agenda and works with colleagues across the University to build a good evidence base for access, success and progression initiatives. We keep abreast of national research and best practice; analyse admissions, schools, UCAS and other data; and conduct and commission primary research to inform our strategy.

Many of our team are members of the Centre for Social Mobility which brings researchers and practitioners together to promote evidence-based practice, nurture new ideas and support a whole institution approach to social mobility. Contact Nicola Sinclair or Professor Anna Mountford-Zimdars. 

WP and fair access schemes

The team has operational responsibility for access initiatives, many of which provide opportunities for discipline specific content to be included.  Should you wish to contribute to them or discuss opportunities to develop new activities within your College then please use the contact us section to identify your College lead who will be happy to help. 

University of Exeter Scholars

The Exeter Scholars programme offers opportunities for academically able young people from underrepresented backgrounds to find out more about university, develop a passion for a chosen subject, and gain first-hand experience of student life at the University of Exeter.

It is a free programme available to students from across the country delivered via five different pathways and with start points in Years 9, 10 and 12.  Around 900 students are on the programme at any one time.

Content is delivered through a mixture of face to face events including residential experiences, and online materials to prevent home location being a barrier to participation.  From Year 12 onwards completion of a subject activity strand of their choice makes up a significant part of the programme content. Programme benefits include :

  • An understanding of university life and an opportunity to hear directly from current university students about their experiences
  • First-hand experience of a leading university and advice from world-class academics who are passionate about the subjects they teach
  • An exciting insight into the type of research carried out by universities and the impact it can have on our everyday lives
  • The opportunity to explore a particular subject fully funded residential events and regular trips to one of our campuses
  • Development of experience and knowledge and transferrable skills
  • A contextual offer and access to a benefits packages including transition, financial, academic skills and employability support.

> Educational Partnerships

We have partnerships with a wide range of schools both in the South West and nationally. We work closely with these schools providing a variety of information, support and teaching enrichment.

> Next Steps South West

We are part of Next Steps South West (NSSW),  a consortium of 13 higher education institutions based in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. NSSW have developed a programme of activities for target schools and students to encourage progression into higher education, raise apsiration and academic attainment. These activities include Articulacy sessions, e-Mentoring, theatre productions and Careerpilot workshops. As an institution we help to support these core activities whilst also providing events and activities targeting schools and students within and around Exeter/Cornwall.

> Realising Opportunities

We are a member of Realising Opportunities, which is an innovative, national scheme which was set up and is managed by 14 of the country’s leading, research-intensive universities to promote fair access and social mobility of students from groups underrepresented in higher education. Students take part in a programme of activities to inform them about their future options and provide them with the skills they will need to succeed at university.

> Pathways to Law

Pathways to Law is an innovative and exciting programme, which provides fantastic opportunities for sixth form students who are interested in law. Jointly managed and funded by The Sutton Trust, Pathways is offered at 13 UK universities, including the University of Exeter. The programme targets high-achieving students in state schools and colleges who will be the first generation in their family to attend university, and aims to raise their aspirations and provide them with the skills and confidence to pursue a successful legal career. Pathways to Law is delivered as a subject activity strand within the Exeter Scholars programme.

Support for students with complex needs

The team works with colleagues across the University to provide joined up support for students who may have to overcome complex challenges in order to progress and succeed within higher education. We organise an annual conference for mature students considering progressing into higher education. The event attracts around 70 students from across the South West and includes various workshops to prepare students for applying to university. We also provide familiarisation sessions on campus for care leavers and their social workers to support them through the application process. The team works closely with the Student Guild and others to support initiatives for student carers and students who have no family support.


The teams works with a number of partners to expand the reach and scope of our widening participation activity with disadvantaged and underrepresented pupils.

> IntoUniversity

IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people from Primary School age and above are inspired to achieve. We co-fund the Bristol South Centre and deliver a range of activities including workshops, mentoring and residentials.  At each local centre IntoUniversity offers an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

> Brilliant Club

The Brilliant Club is an award-winning charity that exists to increase the number of pupils from under-represented backgrounds progressing to highly-selective universities. They do this by mobilising the PhD community to share its academic expertise with state schools, particularly in hard to reach areas.

> Social Mobility Foundation

Each year we run an overnight visit in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) at our Streatham Campus. The SMF is a charity which aims to improve social mobility of young people form low-income backgrounds.

> Advancing Access

Advancing Access is a collaboration of 24 leading universities, including the University of Exeter, providing free resources and online events for teachers and advisers on various topics to help them support their student’s progression to leading universities.

> The Elephant Group

The Elephant Group is a consortium of schools in London, the North and Midlands, who work in partnership to support the progression of students into higher education. 


We are a partner in the SEREN network, a Welsh Government initiative to improve access to higher education for academically able students across the principality.

The team is responsible for managing the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme which employs around 360 students each year.

Undergraduate, Postgraduate and International Student ambassadors are selected, trained and managed by the team and work on a wide range of events and activities throughout the year. They share their first-hand experiences of life as a University of Exeter student to a variety of different audiences, providing a positive, authentic and unscripted insight into the world of higher education.

The work student ambassadors undertake involves both promoting the University of Exeter as an institution to prospective students and visitors; and helping to widen participation in higher education more generally by providing information, advice and guidance to young people from a diverse range of backgrounds who are under-represented. Further information about the work available to student ambassadors can be found here.

The Access, Participation and Outreach Team organises and runs a number of residential programmes throughout the year providing life-changing experiences for students from Year 10 upwards, supporting both widening participation objectives and our internationalisation strategy.

> International summer school

We lead on organising and recruiting to the University’s undergraduate international summer school which attracts around 130 students from around the world. Running for six weeks throughout July and August, the school provides places for international partner institutions as well as international scholars who want to experience study at a UK institution. The school provides students with credit-bearing research-led modules in areas such as business, law, English, preventative medicine and international relations. A number of students on the programme have gone on to study doctoral programmes at Exeter.

> International pre-university schools

We have an expanding pre-university international programme for students aged between 15 and 17. Held over two weeks in August, the summer school provides an exciting academic and social programme with a focus on medicine and law. The majority of students who attend go on to apply for degree courses at the University the following year.

> Bespoke international short programmes 

We run a number of bespoke events for specific disciplines or agencies, for example the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) whose students study in the UK each summer with the hope of progressing on to an undergraduate degree. 

> Widening participation residentials

Around 360 school pupils attend the campus each year as part of our widening participation programmes. We hold residentials for Year 10 and Year 12 pupils at both the Penryn and Streatham Campuses as part of the University of Exeter Scholars programme and also with partners such as Next Steps South West, IntoUniversity and the Social Mobility Foundation. The pupils stay in halls of residence and experience life at university including subject lessons and outside activities led by student ambassadors.

Support and guidance

The team provides event-specific briefings for staff and students involved with Open Days and Offer-Holder Visit Days. If you are a new member of staff and would like the opportunity to meet with someone from the Student Recruitment Office to discuss the events we offer, please contact the Outreach Manager.

We have produced good practice guides and templates for you to use at the Open Days and Offer-Holder Visit Days, however you may find this information useful for any other events you may hold.  We would encourage you to use the templates for all your student recruitment activity.

The Off campus events good practice guide aims to provide simple hints and tips for staff representing the University at school and college events.

We would ask all staff to inform the team if they have a request from a school for a vsit or information. We can the liaise directly with the school and ensure they receive the appropriate level of support. Contact us on x4043 or email


>School search

Search our database to see what category or group a school belongs to here 

>Outreach newsletter

The Student Recruitment Office is responsible for effective communications with schools and colleges both locally and nationally. Targeted e-newsletters are sent on a regular basis providing key contacts with information and details of relevant engagement opportunities - read more

 >Sending an article for inclusion in newsletter

Use our form to send us copy for one of our newsletters here

 >Feedback forms

Please use this link to input evaluation data from incoming visits, outgoing visits, on campus subject days and teachers - here.




 Job role





 All general enquiries

Innovation Centre


Nicola Sinclair

Head of Access, Participation and Outreach

Innovation Centre


Karen Corr

Head of Student Recruitment Operations 

Innovation Centre


WP and College Team   

Melissa Ruddock

WP Manager

Innovation Centre


Hayley Stentiford 

Outreach Officer 

Innovation Centre


Kate Blackmore

Pathways to Law and Outreach Officer - SSIS

Innovation Centre


Teresa Sanders

Outreach Officer 

Innovation Centre 

Polly Brunt

WP Coordinator - CLES

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Dean Jones

WP Coordinator - CEMPS

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Catherine Prowse

WP Coordinator - HUMS

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Dr Jemma Morgan

WP Coordinator - UEBS

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Caspian Robson

WP Coordinator - CMH

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Melissa Barrett

WP Coordinator - SSIS 

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Dr Siobhan Harper

WP Coordinator 

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Bryanna Kilroy

WP Coordinator 

Innovation Centre 

WP Strategy, Evidence and Policy

Sam Dyer

WP Strategy and Evidence Manager 

Innovation Centre


Sam Braide

WP Research and Evaluation Officer

Innovation Centre


Dr Kirsty Janes 

WP Data Analyst

Innovation Centre


Reema Mustafee 

WP Data Assistant

Natalie Bracher  Outreach and Success Officer Innovation Centre 2527
Emma Goulding Access and Participation Coordinator Innovation Centre 7083  

Student Recruitment Operations 

Jonny Gurr

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre


Melody Barnes

Outreach Officer

Innovation Centre


Kathy Bishop

Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme Officer

Innovation Centre


Dan North

Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme Officer 

Innovation Centre


Rhianna Lewis 

Exeter Student Ambassador Coordinator

Innovation Centre


Deborah Langford

WP and Student Recruitment Administrator Innovation Centre 4043

Adam Chin

Outreach and Events Coordinator Innovation Centre 7678

Beccy Noble

Outreach and Events Coordinator Innovation Centre 3773

Schools and College Engagement 

Dr Karl Devincenzi

Recruitment and Schools Relationship Manager

Innovation Centre


Ashley Dozwa

Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer 

Catherine O'Mahoney Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer  London-based     
Lucy Yarde Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer       
Emma Churchill Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer       

Orla Kirkland

Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer 

Innovation Centre


Vicky Glazer

Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer 

Innovation Centre


Becky Crews 

Schools and Colleges Engagement Officer  (mat leave cover)

Finlay Simmons 

Digital Outreach Assistant 


Student Recruitment Operations Penryn

Jo Thacker

Student Recruitment Manager (Cornwall Campus)


01326 371801

Liz Hull

WP and Student Recruitment Administrator


01326 370417

Hayley McCormack

Student Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator


01326 253786

International Summer School  

Amie Gerolimatos

International Summer School Manager

Innovation Centre


Polly Brunt

International Summer School Officer 

Innovation Centre


South West and FE Team 

Roisin Quinn 

Student Access and FE Relationship Manager  Innovation Centre    

Pete Offord 

Outreach Officer  Innovation Centre    
Marc Chadburn WP Coordinator  Penryn Campus    
Rachel Haddy  WP Coordinator Penryn Campus    

Luke Moncrieff-Jury

Outreach Officer (NSSW Cornwall) Penryn Campus 01326 371858  

Eleanor Hendy

Outreach Officer (NSSW Cornwall  Penryn Campus 01326 370412