Sutton Trust proposals in 'Innovative University Admissions'

12 July 2009

Responding to the report released by the Sutton Trust, “Innovative University Admissions Worldwide: A Percent Scheme for the UK?” Director General of the Russell Group of leading research intensive universities, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:

“Our universities are constantly examining the most effective ways of ensuring that we identify the candidates with the potential to excel on our courses and to give them the opportunity to demonstrate that talent and potential. So this report is a welcome contribution to the important debate on how to widen access to higher education in the most effective and fairest way.

“As this report shows, Russell Group universities are already heavily involved in a range of access schemes which aim to inspire and encourage students from backgrounds which make them less likely to consider the benefits of going to university. Many schemes – like the ‘special entry routes’ for candidates from non-traditional backgrounds- draw on a range of factors and information in order to identify potential, talent and intellectual curiosity which may not be reflected in traditional qualifications. The admissions process takes into account any particular barriers the candidate may have faced during their education such as spending time in care. Initial evaluations of some of these schemes have shown extremely promising results: the students who entered through the access schemes are almost just as likely to gain a top grade in their degree as candidates entering through a conventional route.

“So the Russell Group is happy to examine these proposals in detail and discuss them with the Sutton Trust, so we can build most effectively on the work our institutions have been doing to help minimise the barriers facing disadvantaged young people."

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