Education Secretary backs efforts to make university system fairer

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The Education Secretary has given his backing to using data on a student’s background to determine college places (PA) (PA Wire)

The Education Secretary has given his backing to using data on a student’s background to determine college places.

Figures released this week showed that supply rates are higher this year for students in areas where the proportion of progression to tertiary education is lowest.

Offer rates in these areas for UK 18-year-olds are 74.5 per cent, compared with 73 per cent in areas where the highest proportion of young people move on to tertiary education, according to data from Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas).

(MBI/Alamy/PA)

(MBI/Alamy/PA)

Ucas has also factored data on free school meals – an indicator of disadvantage – into offers for the first time this year.

James Cleverly also appeared in some quarters to reject suggestions of “social engineering” in favor of students from disadvantaged areas.

In an interview with the Telegraph he said: “While universities recognize that for some students in certain circumstances getting the top grade or the grade they are bidding against is more difficult than students from other schools and from other backgrounds, so I’m not uncomfortable with that.

If a student’s best performance is in a more difficult context, it is not wrong “that this be recognized”, Mr Cleverly also said.

Hundreds of thousands of students will receive A-level results on Thursday, with Mr Cleverly saying paper-based admissions are the ‘responsibility of universities’ and the government ‘cannot and we don’t tell universities how they do it admissions”.

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