Response to the Prime Minister’s comments on diversity in Higher Education

Nigel-GHE-screengrab

Following David Cameron’s comments on diversity in HE, I wrote for the Guardian’s Higher Education Network on the policy decisions – predominantly the EBacc – which are posing a threat to getting more disadvantaged pupils into higher education. Below is an excerpt from the piece, which you can read in full here.

Let’s state the obvious. Universities are more open and diverse than they used to be, thanks to government policy and light-touch regulation. When the tuition fee cap rose to £9,000, we were instructed to spend some of the money on widening participation. This gave us the autonomy and funding – as well as a clear target – to do better.

As of 2015-16, black and minority ethnic students make up nearly a third of my university’s undergraduate cohort. Many other institutions have made similar progress. We plan to go further. In that sense, I don’t see huge challenges in increased targets.

But you can’t get to university before you’ve been to school. So while the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is making the right noises about tertiary education, the Department for Education’s (DfE) English Baccalaureate is cutting access at secondary level to one of the UK’s big education success stories.

 

Comments are closed.