England’s prime universities should do extra to assist colleges in poor areas elevate attainment, says the person charged with selling truthful entry to school.
The argument that poorer youngsters’ grades are sometimes not adequate for prime universities “simply does not maintain water”, mentioned Prof Les Ebdon, director of the Workplace for Truthful Entry (Offa).
Universities should make extra effort to take poorer college students, mentioned Prof Ebdon.
Universities mentioned they have been already spending tens of millions to widen entry.
Prof Ebdon mentioned that, for a while, “numerous universities, particularly these with the best entrance necessities, have advised me that there is a restrict to what they’ll do to enhance truthful entry as a result of individuals from deprived areas safe, on common, decrease entrance grades”.
However he dismissed this argument.
“It’s exactly as a result of there are decrease charges of attainment in deprived areas that universities should work in shut partnership with colleges to lift attainment,” he mentioned.
“Certainly there are numerous examples of universities already working carefully and creatively with colleges and I anticipate to see far more of it.
“Elevating the attainment of younger individuals from deprived backgrounds is essential and I need it to be a significant a part of the entry plans of universities.”
He mentioned that whereas there have been extra younger individuals from deprived backgrounds in increased training than ever earlier than, there was “far more to be executed”.
“One of many key methods universities could make an actual distinction is to make sure that they’re working hand-in-hand with colleges to ensure that aspirations and attainment may be raised in our deprived communities.”
Prof Ebdon made the feedback to coincide with new Offa steerage for universities on broadening entry to increased training.
Beneath the present charges system, any English college wishing to cost tuition charges of greater than about £6,000 will need to have an entry settlement authorized by Offa which units out plans to recruit and retain kids who wouldn’t usually research for a level.
The Russell Group, which represents among the UK’s most selective universities, together with Oxford and Cambridge, agreed that working with colleges was a key approach for universities to spice up attainment.
“A lot of our members have already got in depth partnership and outreach programmes with colleges which might be designed to encourage profitable purposes from all backgrounds,” mentioned head of coverage, Sarah Stevens.
“We estimate that the 24 Russell Group universities work with properly over 2,000 colleges, reaching many tens of 1000’s of scholars throughout the UK yearly.”
Ms Stevens mentioned that this 12 months, Russell Group universities “in England alone” would spend greater than £250m on programmes to widen entry.
A authorities spokesman welcomed Prof Ebdon’s remarks: “We wish the entire sector to work with us to enhance the standard of faculties, in order that extra college students of all backgrounds have the grades and the arrogance to use to the very best universities, and achieve success of their exams within the first place.”