Let's get visible: evidence-based interventions aimed at supporting, empowering and celebrating student-parents in higher education.


  • Andrea Todd University of Chester




mature students, student mothers, widening participation, student-parents, access and participation


This paper analyses the findings of a two-stage small-scale research project investigating the needs of undergraduate students with dependent children (‘student-parents’) studying in a post-1992 university. The findings of Stage 1 of the study, using data from semi-structured interviews with student-parents, show that student-parents need two things from their institution: a sense of belonging and flexibility. In Stage 2, a questionnaire survey was used to explore the impact of two interventions piloted during the 2021-22 academic year to address the Stage 1 findings. The paper then presents the next steps in this project: co-creation, with students, of systems designed not only to make visible our student-parent community but also to support, empower and celebrate their identities as student-parents.

Author Biography

Andrea Todd, University of Chester

Andrea (Andy) Todd is a Senior Fellow of the HEA and Associate Professor of Active Citizenship at the University of Chester Law School. Since writing this article, Andy has produced an eight-step toolkit to assist institutions in identifying, supporting and celebrating student-parents. The toolkit is available on the website of the United Kingdom Advising and Tutoring Association: https://www.ukat.ac.uk/media/1886/supporting-student-parents-toolkit-andy-todd-jan-2023.pdf.    


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How to Cite

Todd, A. (2023) “ empowering and celebrating student-parents in higher education”., Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (26). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi26.920.