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Higher Education Research

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Susan Hall Susan Hall Conservative

In the economic development strategy (2017) it states that you will partner to “conduct research into London’s high rate of non-continuation into higher education”, what were the conclusions and recommendations from that research?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

We commissioned the Social Market Foundation to undertake this research. The final report Building on Success identified the main drivers of non-continuation in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in London. It found that students at lower tariff HEIs were more at risk of not continuing if they had taken a non-A level route (e.g. BTEC) and lived with their parents or guardians. Black students tend to be overrepresented in these groups compared with other ethnic groups. At medium and higher tariff universities students from lower socio-economic groups were more at risk of dropping out.

The report recommended that the Office for Students explore alternative metrics to identify disadvantaged students in HE. The current measure, the Participation of Local Areas (POLAR), is likely to understate the numbers of students from less advantaged backgrounds in London progressing to higher education. Additionally, the report recommended HEIs increase support for non-A level students transitioning to HE.