A governmental report has called for top universities, many as part of the Russell Group, to save at least 3700 of their spaces to allow for the admission of state school educated pupils instead of opting for privately educated pupils, in order to balance equality levels of social mobility.
The governmental report, which has been backed by many top universities, found that the admissions process needs to be ‘more representative’ of society, and a mix of privately educated and state school educated pupils could indeed improve education, and allow for poorer pupils to be given an equal opportunity. Certain universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter and UCL were particularly focused upon, in which the call for social mixing may be important.
Alan Milburn, government social mobility forerunner, said that Britain’s most selective research universities had definitely become more exclusive to the wealthy over the last decade. He said that this was ‘penalising’ state educated pupils during the admissions process, and emphasised the need for ‘ambitious enough targets to close this fair access gap’.
Certainly the mix of pupils admitted from a wide range may allow pupils from indigent backgrounds an opportunity to thrive as such of a private educated pupil. Recent figures have seen that there has been a 2% increase in the admissions of state school pupils to Russell Group universities, a figure that may be detriment when deemed as representative of educational opportunities.
David Milletts, Universities Minister, has backed the report, that “getting a university education should be based on ability, far from where you come from.” Even so, it appears that the 3700 spaces that the government are calling to be reserved for state school pupils may purely just be a starting block as the government aims to boost social mobility.
It may be important that the Russell Group may regard this report as an essential tool to improve education for many, however also to bring a balance equality into the university admission process. The elimination of assumptions in the admission process may be certainly important in allowing the pathway to success without any barriers.
What other incentives may be brought forth to further equalise the education system?