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Title: Widening access : is it fair?
Author: Caunt, Jennifer Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 3991
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2012
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Physiotherapy remains a predominately white and middle class profession even after a decade of 'New Labour' government policies that were aimed at widening participation in HE. Barriers to access to HE and the physiotherapy profession are complex and wide-ranging and include the individual student's achievements and attitude to HE, institutional, departmental, and professional cultures and the way admissions staff interpret the policy directions that come from government. There may also be barriers to 'widening access' inadvertently created by a 'fair access' agenda. This thesis investigates access to pre- registration physiotherapy education, and in doing so probes the different and often confusing ways in which notions such as widening access and fair access are interpreted. This research analyses pertinent government policy documents and guidelines to understand the meaning that higher education policy makers give to the terms widening access and fair access, and the principles of equality used in their formulation. The structural barriers to entry to an undergraduate physiotherapy programme are examined. Interviews and concept mapping with many of the admissions tutors working on England's undergraduate full-time physiotherapy programmes are used to gain an understanding of the opinions and behaviours of admissions tutors and institutions. The research demonstrates how the equal opportunities model of equality still predominates as the backdrop to how widening access and fair access agendas are interpreted. Since equal opportunities relies on procedural fairness, the result is that widening access remains a separated and secondary issue to procedural fairness, and therefore a conclusion that widening access is not fair. If society wants to see more parity in participation in higher education and physiotherapy education in particular, then admissions tutors and institutions will need to move and embrace a position closer to a equality of condition model. In conclusion the study presents recommendations on how to move towards more inclusive widening access.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available