• Working with/in institutions: how policy enactment in widening participation is shaped through practitioners' experience

      Rainford, Jon; (Routledge, 2021-01-12)
      Widening participation in higher education is driven by policy which is then enacted by individual practitioners. Practitioners bring with them a wealth of personal and employment experiences which shape their interpretations and enactments. Drawing on sixteen in-depth semi structured interviews with practitioners across seven universities in England, a classification is developed in order to conceptualise their orientations to policy enactment. Whilst nationally focused, this study has international resonance especially in marketised HE systems where policies are similarly enacted. The model developed within the paper proposes that personal and professional experience can cause practitioners to orient towards the interests of the institution or the individuals they work with. This orientation can be in compliance with institutional policy or adopt a more transgressive stance. Through deeper theorisation of practitioner positions we can better understand how to ensure work in this area better serves the individuals which it is targeted at.