The book uncovers the multiple and complex factors which affect the interpretation and practice of widening participation. The role of government is seen to be central to widening partcipation activity, in both a direct and indirect manner. The perceived and contested roles of the university and academics are identified as pivotal to the agenda and ultimately define the importance and practice of the agenda within higher education. The implication for practice is that government needs to acknowledge the culture of higher education during policy construction. In addition there is a need for academics to reflect upon their own practice and to reject instrumental constructions of the agenda. Rather, they need to engage in a redevelopment of their role which affords the learner an opportunity to contribute to the meaning of higher education. The book should be of interest to teachers supporting university applicants, academics and developers of policy.