Free School Meals

13 January 2014

Commenting on figures relating to the number of students on free school meals at age 15 admitted to Russell Group universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Our universities want to give places to students with the qualifications, potential and determination to succeed, irrespective of their background. That’s why we are pumping millions more into outreach programmes and bursaries.

“However the number one cause of under representation is that too few students from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve good enough grades in the right subjects. In 2009, only 232 students who had been on free school meals (FSM) achieved 3As at A-level or the equivalent.  This was 4.1% of the total number of FSM students taking A-levels, and less than an estimated 0.3% of all those who had received free school meals when aged 15. At 16 only 36.8% of FSM pupils achieve a good GCSE in Maths and English (grades A*-C).”

Notes to Editors

  1. This statement refers to figures released through a parliamentary question.
  2. These figures are now two years out of date and due to the complexity of calculating them do not necessarily capture all FSM pupils. They refer solely to students from England.
  3. The figures on FSM students exam results are from Department for Education data.

Policy area

Related case studies