Response to David Willetts on access

03 January 2013

Commenting on the David Willetts' remarks about access to university for white working-class boys, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said: 

“Our universities want to make sure they are not overlooking the brightest and the best and we recognise that poorer students from all ethnic backgrounds are not as well represented within leading universities as their middle class peers. This is why Russell Group universities already pump millions into a range of schemes to attract young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

“But universities cannot solve this problem alone. The root causes of the under-representation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-achievement at school and poor advice on the best choices of A-level subjects and university degree course. 

“Many of our universities run successful summer schools which have been show to increase applications - including those where there is little history of pupils progressing to research-intensive universities. Our universities also sponsor local academies and work with primary schools to raise aspirations and awareness of university.”

Policy area

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