Prime Minister's speech on world-class education

31 October 2007

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

"The Russell Group welcomes the Prime Minister's acknowledgement of the importance of the innovative work that universities are already engaging in with state secondary schools.

"Russell Group universities are particularly focused on this mission to help widen participation in higher education. Thousands of their students and hundreds of their staff are involved with schools every day, supporting pupils through mentoring, tutoring and raising aspirations. Russell Group university initiatives also include bursaries, access courses and summer schools. We are particularly determined to help to tackle the root cause of the problem of the under-representation of students from poorer backgrounds at Russell Group institutions - the fact that they do not apply, due to low aspirations or under-achievement at school.

"All Russell Group institutions have strong links with schools in deprived areas, and their volunteers play a crucial role not only in raising pupils' attainment but also in providing advice and guidance and inspiring role models for children who may not have any family members who have been to university.

"Russell Group universities are fully committed to playing a key role in seeking out talented students whatever their background and in giving everyone a fair chance - and the best chance - of fulfilling their potential."


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