University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell has written for Wonkhe today following the publication of the SMF’s report on Widening Participation in partnership with University Alliance and Open University.
The report finds that the government is on course to miss its targets of widening participation in higher education – and has found significant differences between institutions’ intake of pupils from both minority and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-represented at most universities – and significantly under-represented at high-tariff institutions.
In her blog, Maddalaine asks what we should do to address this issue.
“First, we should stop turning the diversity of our higher education system into a hierarchy. Instead, we should recognise that different institutions have different kinds of excellence and can help people meet their different aspirations. The fair access agenda – the drive to get bright poor students into high tariff institutions – has its place. But if it diverts students from applying for the course that is best for them – or tells employers that they will only find great graduates in a few institutions – it does more harm than good…”