Sutton Trust - Global Gaps report

09 February 2017

Commenting on Sutton Trust analysis which revealed bright students from less well-off backgrounds lag behind classmates from wealthier backgrounds by around two years and eight months in maths, science and reading, Russell Group Head of Policy Sarah Stevens said:


By the time able students from less-well off backgrounds may be thinking about university they are already lagging behind their classmates from wealthier households. When it comes to high-tariff courses and institutions this clearly has the potential to make widening participation that much more difficult. Closing the attainment gap is a huge challenge for government.

Universities can and do play an important role here. Our members are working with more than 2000 schools across the country and investing in grant and bursary support to give more young people the chance to benefit from higher education. However, action across many areas is required to have a demonstrable effect on attainment. This includes things like school funding and early years interventions that ministers will need to look at closely.


Notes to Editors: 

Please see below for examples of the work that Russell Group universities are doing to support young people from less well-off backgrounds.

UniTracks is the University of Warwick’s national programme for gifted and talented 14-18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds. Participants get tailored support from the University of Warwick and can attend events, workshops and summer schools that will build their skills, confidence and academic attainment.

TheMoving On schemeat LSE is open to schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils and is aimed at supporting Year 6 and Year 7 pupils' transition to secondary education. Participants have the chance to visit the university and take part in a number of sessions designed to raise aspirations, introduce Higher Education and reduce fears associated with the move to secondary school.

Ambition Nottingham is a scheme for high-potential students from less advantaged backgrounds in Years 7-13, run by the University of Nottingham. The Pre-16 programme (with Years 7-9 run as part of the Sutton Scholars programme) helps to build students’ curiosity for learning, and their understanding of university and its role in realising personal ambitions.

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