This paper is based upon two empirical studies, which identify care-giving responsibilities as a key mediator of mature students' - a target group within the widening participation strategy - experiences of higher education. Employing a feminist lens on care, we identify a disjuncture between how students experience the challenges of negotiating care and study, and the narrow and economistic way care is addressed within higher education policy. We point to the broader recognition of care emerging within New Labour's policies on the reconciliation of paid work and family life and argue that in the context of increasing expectations that learning is for life, care needs to be recognised in a broader form at the interface of both education and employment. Drawing on the notion of a 'political ethics of care', we conclude by identifying elements that should be included in a higher-education 'care culture'.
Alsop, R., Gonzalez-Arnal, S., & Kilkey, M. (2008). The widening participation agenda: the marginal place of care. Gender and Education, 20(6), 623-637. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250802215235