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University’s award winning ‘contextualised admissions’ scheme allowed me to pursue my dream


Student Amanta Cuhaldina in 2022

When Amanta Cuhaldina passed her A-levels, she was just one grade away from meeting entry requirements for her first choice university course.

She achieved grades of ABB but needed AAB in order to enrol on the MPhysio Sport and Exercise Medicine programme at the University of Bradford.

Thanks to the university’s contextualised admissions programme - also known as the Progression Scheme, Amanta was able to take up an offer to study at the university. She is now excelling in her studies and was recently nominated as ambassador of the year at the Aimhigher Practitioner Awards 2022.

The University won an award for its Progression Scheme at the Levelling Up Awards 2022. On July 4, 2022, Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon travelled to London to take part in the launch of the Rt Hon Justine Greening’s Purpose Coalition’s Levelling Up White Paper.

The University is also proud to be taking part in Universities UK’s #GettingResults campaign, which seeks to promote work done to level up the local community.

Amanta (pictured top), 21, who is originally from Latvia - and is fluent in Latvian, Russian (in which she gained an A at A-level) and English - said: “Since the age of about 15, I have been thinking about pursuing a career in physiotherapy. Before doing my A-levels, I had my hopes set on a course at Bradford.”

The former Elliot Hudson College student added: “I benefited from the university’s contextualised admissions scheme based on where I live and the fact it was considered a ‘low participation neighbourhood’. For me, it has been really helpful, because English is not my first language and so I am constantly translating information. Gaining a place at the University of Bradford has been really positive for me and would not have happened were it not for the Progression Scheme.”

Below: a student in the School of Management

A student in the School of Management

About the Progression Scheme

The Progression Scheme takes into account an array of information such as an applicant's social and economic circumstances, where they live, together with other contextual information, such as whether they are a care leaver.

In general, it seeks to widen access to higher education by ensuring a range of factors outside the control of applicants do not adversely hinder access to higher education. Based on all this information, some students may receive a reduced offer. Students are also offered the opportunity to attend a variety of events to support their transition to higher education through the scheme, which if completed further reduces their tariff point offer.

Claire Pryke, Associate Director of Outreach, Recruitment and Admissions, said: “The main aim of our Progression Scheme is to ensure access to higher education is opened to a wider group of people. We know factors like entry requirements and financial constraints represent some of the biggest barriers to people entering higher education, but there are also other factors such as age and personal circumstances related to a person’s background.

“Levelling Up is all about ensuring potential students who fall within any of these categories are not otherwise adversely affected by them, at least in terms of applying to enter higher education. We are, therefore, very proud to have been recognised by the Purpose Coalition’s Levelling Up award.”

Levelling Up awards

It is the second Levelling Up award for the university in as many years - in 2021, it won an award for its support services - and is also the latest in a string of accolades for its work on improving people’s social mobility, including topping the Social Mobility Index university rankings table for two years in a row. The University was also named Institution of the Year at the 2021 Aimhigher Awards.

Select this link for more information about the University’s Progression Scheme.

Below: Vice-Chancellor Prof Shirley Congdon (middle), with Rt Hon Justine Greening (right)

Professor Shirley Congdon and Rt Hon Justine Greening


The University of Bradford is taking part in a week of campaigning activity to highlight our role in levelling up, boosting economic growth and creating opportunities for everyone to live longer, more fulfilling lives.

As part of Universities UK’s #Getting Results campaign, which promotes the role of universities in the economic and social recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, a co-ordinated programme of political, media and digital activity will focus on the important difference universities can make to the UK Government’s levelling up agenda through their teaching, research, innovation, and community and business partnerships.

This follows new Higher Education Statistics Agency data showing that graduate start-ups created more than 10,000 new jobs in 2020/21 alone despite the onset of the pandemic. In total, 15,793 active graduate businesses are estimated to have created 46,723 jobs – up from 35,637 jobs in twelve months – as well as new products and services across the country.