Advancing Access: Support for teachers will boost access to leading universities

10 May 2017

Boosting support for teachers working with young people on their university applications could significantly increase the chance of pupils attending a leading university, new analysis of a widening participation programme has suggested.

An evaluation report found teachers using free resources provided by the Advancing Access initiative reported increased confidence in their ability to help pupils through the university application process.

Advancing Access provides targeted assistance for teachers to help ensure students with talent, potential and ability are fully informed on their higher education options. Resources have been developed in partnership with teachers in schools with low progression to university. The initiative is led by the 24 members of the Russell Group of universities.

Of the teachers who used the resources provided online at the Advancing Access website:

•           93 per cent said that the material improved their ability to help students write personal statements, with 69 per cent of respondents reporting that it had made a significant difference.

•           93 per cent of teachers said that they would write better academic references as a result of having used Advancing Access resources.

•           89 per cent said that the website would improve their ability to help pupils prepare for interviews.

More than one third of teachers said they were more likely to encourage their students to apply to a leading university after using the materials or participating in an Advancing Access digital conference.

The findings of the initial evaluation report were revealed as Advancing Access opened registrations for a second online event and launched new resources designed to help teachers support pupils during the application process, inform them on admissions processes and provide information on Key Stage 4 and 5 qualifications.

Commenting, James Busson, Chair of the Widening Participation Association and Head of Outreach and Widening Participation at the University of Sheffield, said:

“Advancing Access is at an early stage but these findings are positive. Teachers who are using these resources, or who participated in our virtual conference, are boosting the chances of their pupils making a successful application and attending a leading university.

“With new resources on admissions, the application process and post-16 qualifications now online we would encourage teachers working on university applications to take advantage of the support that is available.”

Chair of the Russell Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, Professor Sir David Greenaway, added:

“Russell Group universities assign a high priority to widening access, and are working hard to ensure young people from underrepresented backgrounds have every opportunity to apply to a leading university. We are making good progress but there is still more to be done. This is why innovative projects like Advancing Access are so important.

“Teachers have a fundamental role to play in ensuring their pupils have all the information they need to make choices that are best for them. These new resources have the potential to make a big difference.”


The Advancing Access website can be found at

The new resources can be viewed without creating an account using the following login details: username -, password – guest.


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