New Reform report on student access

28 November 2018

Responding to a new report from Reform, “Gaining access: Increasing the participation of disadvantaged students at elite universities,” Sarah Stevens, Head of Policy at the Russell Group, said.


“We think it is right that Reform and others scrutinise the efforts of universities to continue making our campuses more inclusive and diverse. We continuously reflect on our activity and its impact: Russell Group universities spend over £270m annually on initiatives to widen access and support success for disadvantaged students, and we are determined to ensure this investment yields real results.


“As today’s report highlights, addressing the barriers for under-represented students progressing to university is a complex and continuing challenge. We recognise there are no quick wins or easy fixes but we believe this agenda is best understood as a shared social mission in which success depends on universities, schools, parents and government working together, in partnership.


“Russell Group universities are engaging in a very wide range of activities designed to encourage successful applications from students from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds: from mentoring, summer schools and campus visits, to sponsoring schools and providing CPD for teachers. Our universities also use contextual data and admissions processes to identify candidates with the most talent, ability and potential to excel on their courses, whatever their social or educational background.


“In order to target these initiatives most effectively, we echo Reform’s call for the Department for Education to provide more data on deprivation in schools so that universities can reach out to the young people in greatest need of their support.”


Case studies of initiatives by Russell Group universities to increase university participation by disadvantaged students can be found here

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