Skip to content Exit mobile menu

Contextual data and widening participation

St Mary’s University has inclusiveness as one of its core values and is committed to widening participation.

We actively encourage applications from a wide range of students as we firmly believe that helping more people from a wide mix of backgrounds to access education contributes positively to individuals and society.

To support this and counter any disadvantage, we take several factors into account when we are deciding whether to offer students a place on one of our courses. This means that as well as looking at your application form and your academic potential, we also take into account educational and socio-economic background data, such as historic information about your school or college and information you may choose to share about your personal circumstances, for example your age, whether you declare a disability, whether you have spent time in care, the area in which you live* and the relative performance of the school or college you attend. We call this a contextualised admissions approach.

 The additional information gained through examining contextual data supports our Admissions teams to recognise a student’s achievements and identify their potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience, rather than simply by their exam results. For example, students who fit into any of the categories above may also have their application forms reviewed by the academics on the chosen programme, who will give careful consideration to information in the personal statement and references which might help them identify potential. Individualised offers may then be made on the basis of this process.

If you have any queries relating to contextual data, please email

*The postcode that you have provided as your home address will be considered using the HEFCE POLAR4 Low Participation Neighbourhood (LPN) data.