Widening Participation and Outreach

The Widening Participation and Outreach (WPO) team work closely with schools, colleges and communities offering tailored support and engagement activities to all.

Being located on one compact campus makes our university close-knit, but QMU’s community is more than that. It extends to all the people living nearby, from the local schools and colleges throughout Scotland to the wide range of organisations and partners our Widening Participation and Outreach (WPO) team work with to widen access to higher education.

We see our purpose as helping to create a better society through education, research and innovation, and by providing a supportive and creative learning environment. In seeking to fulfil this purpose, we are clear and realistic about our strengths, focused on strategic goals, persistent in pursuing opportunities and overcoming barriers.

We are a small team but a dynamic one who are happy to adapt and adjust to the needs and requirements of the students we support. Please feel free to get in touch with us as we love to hear from you.

Meet the Team

Callum Maguire- Head of Widening Participation & Outreach

Karen Cullen- Widening Participation & Outreach Manager (Colleges)

Hayley Jones- Widening Participation & Outreach Officer (Schools)

Lisa Cruden – PALS Coordinator and East Lothian Tutoring Initiative Project Coordinator

Linnea Wallen – PALS Coordinator

What is Widening Participation (WP)?

For many people, coming to university is not as straightforward path for some.

People may have faced barriers to reaching their full potential which could in turn lead them to believe that university is not an option for them or indeed prevent them from being able to make a successful application.

Queen Margaret University recognises the potential in WP students and wholeheartedly believes that we do better as a university due to the diversity of our students and staff.

Who do we support?

  • Primary and Secondary school pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds: based on area deprivation measures such as SIMD*, those in receipt of free school meals, those from schools of  low progression to HE, and low attaining schools

* Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)

  • Adult learners and returners to educationstudying the SWAP Access course, Higher Nationals at College and the Centre for Open Learning Access Course (students aged 21 or over are typically referred to as mature students)
  • Vulnerable or more marginalised groupsof students such as young carers, young people in care or care leavers, estranged students, learners with refugee / asylum seeker status
  • Students from under-represented groups, some with protected characteristics such as disabled learners, those from ethnic minority backgrounds, and cohorts where there are gender imbalances (e.g. men into nursing)

If you are unsure whether this applies to you please feel free to get in touch with us and we would be happy to help.

Contextual Admissions - Are you eligible?

We aim to take account of the context of an applicant’s academic achievements, giving consideration to a range of factors which may impact on attainment. We consider you to be a widening access student if you:

  • Live in a target postcode area which identifies you as living in an area of high deprivation (most deprived 20% in Scotland) as defined by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Visit http://simd.scot/2016 to see if you live in a target postcode area;
  • Are eligible and have taken part in the Lothian Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS) or
  • Are care experienced.


We will also consider you to be a widening access student if you inform us in your application that:

  • You have caring responsibilities (unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without your support);
  • You are estranged from your family or
  • You are an armed forces/ex-military veteran.


For more information please refer to our Contextual Admissions Policy

What do we do?

We offer a variety of ways to support and guide WP students to enable them to make informed decisions about their application to university. Providing events, projects, workshops, one to one guidance and support in the lead up to university application and take their contextual factors into consideration when making them an offer (see below for more information on contextual factors). We then provide bespoke induction support upon entry and throughout their studies. The journey of a WP student into higher education should be a positive one and we endeavour to make that so.

Widening Participation and Outreach

Contact our Widening Participation and Outreach team.

Show Contacts

Widening Participation and Outreach

Widening Participation and Outreach Team 0131 474 0000