Blog: Advancing Access - resources for teachers

21 November 2017

Sarah Stevens on why it's important for all students to be given information about applying to a Russell Group university.

Unlocking the potential of young people who have traditionally been under-represented in higher education, and in the professions, will be central to building the UK’s knowledge economy and delivering a prosperous post-Brexit Britain.

Universities’ commitment to widening participation and supporting students to succeed is critical to delivering this aim.

The most recent guidance from the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) focused on how universities can work with schools to address the attainment gap between those from disadvantaged and more privileged backgrounds, a key barrier to progression to university.


But even with good grades in academic qualifications, state school students are much less likely to apply to top universities than those at independent schools. A key priority must be to encourage young people from backgrounds which are under-represented in higher education to apply, and teachers play a vital role in supporting students through the application process.

Ahead of the publication of the Government’s new careers strategy, the Russell Group is celebrating Advancing Access, a collaboration between the 24 Russell Group universities to deliver a suite of free online resources designed to support teachers and advisers across the country.

The resources are aimed at teachers in schools where students are less likely to progress to higher education. They focus on how teachers can provide support in choosing the right university and course, as well as understanding and navigating the university admissions process.

Developed and launched over the past year, the resources are being used by teachers and advisers in a range of schools and colleges. So far, they have reached over 850 teachers and careers advisers at nearly 450 schools and colleges, and we expect that number to grow over time.


Whilst a full independent evaluation is underway, early survey results show those using the resources find them useful, up-to-date and accurate, and reflective of their experience of preparing students to apply to leading universities.


We recognise the critical role teachers and advisers play in supporting young people to progress to university and achieve their ambitions. The early success of Advancing Access shows how universities can be impactful in helping to support teachers. The next stage for the programme is to increase its focus on teachers in schools and colleges where more pupils could progress to a Russell Group university.

Collectively, Russell Group universities have an enormous reach through their outreach and access activities. Our universities make a positive impact on more than 8,000 schools across the UK every year, reaching many hundreds of thousands of students.

The Government is preparing to launch its careers strategy, which aims to ensure that everyone has access to the right information at the right time. Advancing Access could help to achieve the Government’s objective to support young people to fulfil their potential.

Register for Advancing Access’ resources on their website

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