Universities: Admissions

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce barriers to university for people from disadvantaged backgrounds in (a) Coventry North East constituency and (b) Coventry.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

It is more crucial than ever before that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them and who wish to do so.

All higher education (HE) providers wanting to charge higher level fees must have an Access and Participation Plan agreed by the Office for Students (OfS), in which they set out the measures they intend to take to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and under-represented groups to access and succeed in higher education.

In our latest strategic guidance to the OfS we asked them to urge providers to do more to ensure that all students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, are recruited on to courses that will deliver good outcomes. Too many students are being let down by courses with low completion rates and courses which have no real labour market demand and therefore do not lead them into skilled employment.

We want to help disadvantaged students by driving up standards, not by levelling down. True social mobility is when we put students and their needs and career ambitions first, be that HE, further education or apprenticeships.

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