Widening participation in higher education: The legacy for legal education

Waters, B. (2013) Widening participation in higher education: The legacy for legal education. The Law Teacher, 47 (2). pp. 261-269. ISSN 0306-9400.

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Abstract

New Labour’s first administration pledge to enable 50% of the adult population to pass through higher education by 2010 was predicated on the notion that an educated nation is beneficial and as such is linked to its long-term economic well-being. The dilemma confronting successive Neo-liberal Labour governments was that the creation of a more educated nation, was being proposed at the expense of the accusation that widening participation has caused a ‘dumbing down’ or devaluation of the degree qualification, law included. This article, among other things, analyses the various strategies which have attempted to achieve the policy, it will examine the effect that this has had on universities going into the 21st century with an emphasis on legal education. The author will attempt to show that widening participation has not fully achieved its intentions in that the effects have not been wholly beneficial; there are not the job opportunities available to offer the growing pool of graduates, including those with a law degree wishing to enter either branch of the legal profession. The author will also briefly explore the accusation that the law graduates are not attaining the kind of employment traditionally considered as being of graduate status. Sustainability of the policy has left the Conservative-led coalition government with no option but to introduce the promised rise in tuition fees initially implemented under Blair. As such, the future of higher education and indeed legal education is far from certain and this will be contextualised in a brief examination of the current state of UK legal education in anticipation of the eagerly awaited LETR review.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing > Mediation Clinic
Depositing User: Mr Ben Waters
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2015 16:56
Last Modified: 07 May 2017 03:48
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12989

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00