Why We Are Needed

‘In 2015, the most advantaged English students were 6.3 times more likely to go to a leading university than the least advantaged.’

UCAS End of Cycle Report 2015

Britain has a world-leading higher education sector and attending university can be a life changing experience for many young people.  But access to university, particularly to leading universities, is often determined by a student’s social background.

Recent data has revealed that:

  • In 2012/2013 65% of students NOT eligible for free school meals obtained 5 A*–C grades at GCSE (including Maths and English) – that drops to just 38% of those who ARE eligible for free school meals.*
  • The progression rate for state school and college pupils to the most selective Higher Education Institutions was 24% in 2010/2011 … the equivalent progression rate for independent sector pupils was 64%.**
  • Just 40 children who take free school meals get a place at Oxford or Cambridge each year, that is just 1 in 2000, compared to 1 in every 2 at Westminster School (independent)

“The greater tendency for students from underrepresented groups to drop out of their [university] courses [8.2%], compared to others [6%], is already well known, and is just one aspect of a bigger problem. Disadvantaged students are also less likely to get a First or 2:1, or go on to a graduate-level job after graduation.”


Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education (March 2016)

It’s a social scandal that all too often demography is still destiny in Britain.” 

Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, Chair, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (June 2015)

Find out how we address this problem


* Education Inequality in England: where is the gap widening?  The Guardian, January 2014

** Widening Participation in Higher Education, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, August 2013