Informed Choices relaunch

23 May 2019

The Russell Group is relaunching its guide for Year 10 and 11 pupils on subject choice to study at sixth form or college and how it relates to their future study and careers.

The renewed guidance is particularly targeted towards supporting less advantaged pupils, who may not always receive the same level of advice as their better off peers. Research by the Sutton Trust has found that bright but disadvantaged A Level students are only half as likely as their wealthier classmates to be taking subjects considered to provide access to selective universities.

The new Informed Choices website has been tested with over 600 Year 10 pupils in schools across the country. As part of the testing, a survey conducted by the Russell Group found:  

  • All pupils consistently consider subject choice at school to be less important in successfully applying to university than a range of other factors including meeting grade offers, putting in a solid application (i.e. through a strong personal statement), or performance in an interview or audition. By contrast, teachers ranked subject choice as more important than these other factors.
  • Similar proportions of private (45%) and comprehensive (41%) pupils say they have made choices about their A-level (or equivalent) subjects. However, private school pupils are much more likely to be planning to go to university (85% vs 60%). This means they are more often making their subject choices in the context of their aspirations to progress to higher education.
  • After using the new Informed Choices website, 94% of pupils found the information on the subject requirements for specific degrees useful and 93% of teachers said they would recommend the website to colleagues or students.

Anand Shukla, Chief Executive of mentoring charity Brightside, commented:

“In order to tackle social mobility, students from all backgrounds require good quality information upon which to base their higher education choices. The Informed Choices website is a welcome initiative which gives well-presented information about A level subject choices for students as they consider degrees they are interested in.”

The website will replace the Russell Group’s printed guide, which has been available to schools since 2011. For the first time, this new interactive tool will allow pupils to see not only the subjects that are recommended for specific degrees, but also to test combinations of A Levels to see which degrees they open up.

Russell Group Chief Executive Dr Tim Bradshaw added:

“Despite being hugely important for getting into university, subject choice is often overlooked. We want all pupils and their parents to have clear information at their fingertips, which the new Informed Choices website provides.”

Visit the new site here

For more information on how “facilitating subjects” are changing, click here.



Informed Choices - subject choice at school

The importance of choosing the right subjects for selective universities


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