HEPI Annual Lecture 2013

27 November 2013

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

“We dispute some of Bahram Bekhradnia’s analysis and conclusions. The proportion of students from state schools has actually increased at Russell Group universities since 1997. We do not agree that the US is a model example.  Both leading public and elite private universities in the US are actually less representative than ours, and the gap between professional and working class children at US elite universities is twice that in the UK.

“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. However the root causes of underrepresentation, as Mr Bekhradnia acknowledges, are that too few students from disadvantaged backgrounds are achieving good enough grades in the right subjects.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Higher Education Statistics Agency performance indicator tables show that the percentage of state educated pupils at Russell Group universities increased from 68.3% in 1997 to 73.9% last year.
  2. Children of professionals are 3.3 times more likely to go to leading US public universities than working class children. That figure is 6.4 for elite private US universities. The figure in England is 3.2. Source: Sutton Trust

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