Evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry on the employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK

28 February 2016

Russell Group universities work with schools and colleges across the country and with a range of other organisations on widening participation and access initiatives. They put significant investment into bursaries, scholarships and fee waivers aimed at the most disadvantaged, and on outreach activities, including working directly with schools and putting on access schemes and summer schools. BME participation is a very important part of this work.

Real progress has been made in recent years, with the number of Black, Asian and Mixed race students entering Russell Group universities all increasing since 2010. According to the UCAS End of Cycle 2015 report (which details university applicant and acceptance rates for entry in September 2015), published in January 2016:

  • The number of Black students accepted by Russell Group universities has increased by 62%, from 1,690 in 2010 to 2,740 in 2015.
  • The number of Asian students accepted by Russell Group universities has increased by 28%, from 7,285 in 2010 to 9,350 in 2015.
  • The number of Mixed ethnicity students accepted by Russell Group universities has increased by 43%, from 2,760 in 2010 to 3,940 in 2015.

However, the fundamental barrier to progression for students from certain ethnic minorities is poor attainment at school: the attainment gap starts early and widens to Key Stage 5, meaning universities have access to a limited pool of highly-qualified applicants from these backgrounds. While data on school performance and university entry are not broken down by religion, students from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds under-perform on average compared to some other ethnic minorities like Chinese or Indian students. This evidence looks at some of the root causes of under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic students at Russell Group universities and how we are working to resolve this with schools, colleges and charities.

Evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK

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