HE Performance Indicators 2008-09
15 April 2010
Commenting on the latest Performance Indicators in Higher Education, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of 20 research-intensive universities, said:
“The increase in the number of young full-time first degree entrants to Russell Group universities from state schools and colleges and from lower socio-economic groups shows encouraging progress towards widening participation.
“These latest figures reflect how hard Russell Group universities have been working to tackle the complex problems which cause under-representation of certain groups. An enormous amount is being done to help raise attainment and aspirations by working closely with local schools and colleges, organising summer schools and providing access courses.
“Russell Group universities will continue to do everything they can to increase participation from under-represented groups, but the problems are not ones which they can solve alone. The issues of low aspirations, lack of high quality advice and guidance and most importantly, under-achievement at school still remain significant barriers to participation and can only be tackled by agencies and institutions across the board.
“We are particularly concerned that all students should receive accurate information and advice about the benefits of studying at a research-intensive university and apply for the courses most suitable for them. Our universities cannot offer places to these individuals unless they apply for them. The benchmarks used in the performance indicators do not take account of patterns in applications.”
In addition to information about participation, the indicators published today also confirm once again that the Russell Group universities maintain very high levels of retention.
Russell Group statistics (2008-09):
Participation of young people from state schools and colleges:
- The number of young full-time first degree entrants at RGUs from state schools and colleges increased by 4% across the Russell Group.
- Entrants from state schools and colleges now make up 76% of all young FT first degree entrants at RGUs.
Participation of young people from lower socio-economic groups:
- The number of young full-time first degree entrants to the Russell Group from lower socio-economic groups, rose by 9%
- As a proportion of all young FT first degree entrants, those from lower socio-economic groups represented 21.4% of entrants across the Russell Group (an increase from 19.6% the previous year).
Participation from low-participation neighbourhoods:
- The number of young full-time first degree entrants to the Russell Group from low-participation neighbourhoods increased by 2%
- Young full-time first degree entrants to RGUs from low-participation neighbourhoods make up 5.8% of all young full-time first degree entrants to RGUs.
- On average across the Russell Group fewer than 4% of young, full-time first degree students will no longer be in HE one year following their year of entry.
The widening participation performance indicators provide broad measures of increased participation by underrepresented groups in higher education. They are not targets, nor were they intended to be. HEFCE’s first report on these indicators notes: “the success of an institution’s access policies cannot be gauged by looking at the ‘access’ indicators alone … Institutions need to be able to identify entrants with the potential to benefit from higher education”