The National Co-ordination Team for Widening Participation and Access to Higher Education

About Us

The primary national provider since 2002 of information, advice and guidance on access, participation, and student retention and success to leaders and practitioners in providers of higher education, working with a wide range of partners and strategic alliances to both challenge and support the sector to deliver and to embed access, widening participation and student success.

Our primary aim and mission to develop the sector’s capacity to ensure a representative and successful student cohort, and to embed fair access and widening participation within organisational strategies, missions and cultures.

A wider mission is to promote and strengthen inclusivity and diversity, shaping and influencing (on behalf of learners and practitioners) policy and practice through brokering dialogue between policy makers and practitioner managers.

To achieve these aims we have developed an in-house experience and expertise and gained an enviable reputation across the sector for high quality, reliability and flexible responsiveness. Our core group of recognised consultants, and our wider network of strategic alliances will ensure a coordinated national strategic approach and support to broadening access and widening participation.

As well as other invaluable partnerships with the organisations who’s logos are below, Action on Access is proud to be an active member ,and currently Andrew acts as treasurer, of the Executive Group of FACE (Forum for Access and Continuing Education) , and a partner member of the Social Partnerships Network  (SPN), sharing common values related to lifelong learning and social mobility and a commitment to a more diverse higher education system. See the SPN website:


Action on Access,

Cloudlands, St Agnes Lane, Torquay, TQ2 6QD

07541 850937




Our People

Director, Andrew Rawson

As Principal Andrew uses his considerable national expertise, organisational experience and networks of contacts to drive Action on Access forward. He has responsibility for all operations, including financial and operational planning and reporting as well as driving strategic direction.

A long commitment and experience in access, widening participation and student success with all age groups; a background in the national careers service, and in further education leading student services and adult guidance services and networks underpins his commitment to work to widen and deepen access and participation in education and training, particularly higher education in its diverse forms.  His goal to contribute to the breaking down of the barriers still faced by many young and adult learners so that they grasp their life chances and fully maximise their potential.                                                                                                                                                                                           

Principal, Professor John Storan

Professor John Storan is a Principal at Action on Access. John is also the Director of Continuum, the Centre for Widening Participation Policy Studies at the University of East London, and was previously Director of Continuing Education and Development at South Bank University, London and Founding Chair of the Forum for the Advancement of Continuing Education (FACE). In 2001 he was made a Professorial Fellow at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), a Visiting Professor at Malmo University, Sweden, as well as currently being the UK representative on the Bologna working group for the Social Dimension and Lifelong Learning.

He has been a regional, national and international figure on Widening Participation in Higher Education and was a member of the NABCE (Non Award-Bearing Continuing Education National Group), established by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 1994, which paved the way for subsequent Widening Participation developments. He has been a member of a number of HEFCE groups and previously served as a member on the National Steering Group for Partnerships for Progression. He was a pioneer of the Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) in the UK and has chaired the SEEC APEL network since it was established. Internationally John has worked extensively in Sweden, USA and South Africa advising Governments and related agencies as well as Universities on the policy and practice of Widening Participation and HE Participation.

In addition to his UK experience John also has wide international experience as a result of his keynotes, conference inputs and involvement in European research and development projects.


Michael Hill

Michael Hill is an Educational Consultant with over 30 years of experience of the adult, further and higher education sectors. His areas of interest include widening access, student retention and success, student engagement and institutional research. He works with a number of bodies including Action on Access, FACE, the HEA. At present he advises academic and professional staff at a number of universities and colleges on strategies to improve student retention, success and attainment. He is an Associate of Continuum, the centre for widening participation policy studies, University of East London.


Action on Access is proud to have strong strategic alliances and associations with