As a governor of further education colleges and a university, I have spent much time debating widening participation and student-retention strategies. But it was not until my goddaughter went to Durham University this year that I appreciated the impact of other students on those objectives. Her regional accent and vocational degree have been the subject of hurtful comments. Her strength of character and family support enabled her to overcome this, but others may not.
Her experience will inform my contributions to future debates on the issue.
Yvonne Rose Bedale