2007-08 Performance Indicators

04 June 2009

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group said:

“Nearly three quarters of students at Russell Group universities are from state schools, with the numbers increasing steadily over the past four years. This year Russell Group universities on average have increased their percentage of entrants from state-schools three times as much as the sector as a whole.

“Russell Group universities are committed to ensuring that the brightest candidates from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to flourish on our courses and benefit from the world class teaching and learning experience, reflected in our extremely high retention rates and the demand for our graduates from employers.

“So we have undertaken a raft of initiatives to go further in tackling the root cause of the problem of the under-representation of students from lower social groups at Russell Group institutions - the fact that they do not apply because of low aspirations, lack of advice and guidance and most importantly, under-achievement at school. We cannot offer places to students who do not apply.

“These are complex problems which our universities alone cannot solve. But we are doing everything we can to help raise attainment and aspirations by working closely with local schools, colleges and community organisations, organising summer schools, and providing access courses. Russell Group universities spent £45 million of additional fee income on outreach and bursaries last year (2007/08).

“The benchmarks used to judge universities on widening participation bear little relation to reality – they are based on the numbers of students reaching the UCAS tariff, which may include unrelated vocational courses such as travel and tourism or leisure studies, not the numbers getting three A grades at A-level for instance. We look forward to the promised improvement in the calculation of benchmarks next year in order to identify groups like this.”

Notes to editors

  1. The annual Performance Indicators (PIs) are collated and published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. This year’s figures are based on the 2007/08 entrants. They are available here: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/pi/
  2. The widening participation performance indicators provide broad measures of increased participation by underrepresented groups in higher education. They are not targets, nor were they intended to be. HEFCE’s first report on these indicators notes: “the success of an institution’s access policies cannot be gauged by looking at the ‘access’ indicators alone … Institutions need to be able to identify entrants with the potential to benefit from higher education” http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/1999/99_11.doc
  3. The proportion of state school entrants to Russell Group universities in 2007-08 was 74.4%. In terms of state school intake Russell Group universities on average have increased their percentage of entrants from state-schools three times as much as the sector as a whole. Below are examples of some Russell Group universities which have significantly increased their proportion of state school entrants:
  • The University of Birmingham increased by 2 percentage points
  • The University of Edinburgh increased by 2.3 percentage points
  • Imperial College London increased its proportion of state school entrants by 3.1 percentage points
  • The latest figures (2008-) show an increase in state school entrants in both the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

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