Professor Sir Les Ebdon appointed to trustee board of Villiers Park Educational Trust

Published: 2 Jul 2018

Professor Sir Les Ebdon, who received a knighthood recently in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for ‘his services to higher education and social mobility’, has been appointed as a trustee of social mobility charity, Villiers Park Educational Trust.

Professor Ebdon, previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, stepped down from his role as Director of the Office of Fair Access earlier this year, ahead of its merger with the Higher Education Funding Council for England into the Office for Students.

During his tenure, Professor Ebdon had a major impact on encouraging universities to think more carefully about their role in fostering widening participation from under-represented groups  – and his achievements have been considerable. Universities now spend more than £800million of their fee income on boosting the number of students from a disadvantaged background embarking on a degree and the participation of these students has been steadily increasing during his time in post.

Speaking after his recent visit to Villiers Park Education Trust, based in Foxton, Cambridgeshire, Professor Ebdon said: “I have long been an admirer of the work that Villiers Park does by long term sustained intervention to enhance the academic achievements of young people who despite their potential would not get a fair chance to go to the university most suited to their talents and ambitions. I particularly support the way they work with schools, universities and students to be a real force for social mobility.”

Villiers Park Educational Trust has, for over fifty years, worked to empower high-ability young people from less-advantaged backgrounds to aim high and achieve their goals, regardless of their background or the barriers they face. They do this through a number of innovative and impactful programmes, operating in areas of the UK where social mobility is lowest.

Richard Barnes, Chairman of Trustees at Villiers Park Educational Trust, said:  “We are delighted that Professor Les Ebdon has agreed to be a trustee at Villiers Park Educational Trust. His awareness of the importance of fair access in contributing to social mobility, together with his understanding of what works best to bring about change, will be a huge asset for our charity.”