Bristol Uni to lower entry requirements for those from poorer backgrounds 

For those from schools in the bottom 40%

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Bristol University have launched a project to ensure greater equity of access to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

As it stands, Bristol is highly competitive with an average of eight students competing for every one space. The uni has one of the highest percentage of privately educated students in the country. According to UCAS figures, bright students from poor performing schools are at a disadvantage. Students from wealthy backgrounds are almost four times more likely to apply to university than their poorer counterparts.

However, Professor Hugh Brady stated that ’we want to welcome the most able students, regardless of their background.’ Offers of two grades lower than the standard offer will be made to those who have been at schools in the lowest-achieving 40% for A-level results.

Communications Secretary of state school society the 93% club, Lucky Dube says the changes are ‘a crucial step towards increasing access to the university to students with potential but from low performing schools.’

Also crucial to the new scheme are the links that will be formed between the university and local schools – many students will now have the chance to study at the university that would’ve otherwise not been able to.

Sophie Pender, President of the 93% club commented that although these measures are a ‘hugely positive’ step in the right direction, the acknowledgment that these pupils are at a disadvantage shouldn’t stop after access.

“The university has a responsibility to cultivate the best minds through the guidance you might not necessarily get in a state school. These students lack of resources means that there is loads of untapped potential, and a university environment shouldn’t be a place where you are completely left to your own devices.”

She states that “culture at Bristol needs to be acceptable for students in low income backgrounds as many working class students still feel massively undervalued as people because of the school they went to and the hobbies they have.”

The Vice Chancellor sees these concerns as long term challenges, but he said that he’s “confident that, in time, we will achieve a more diverse student community at the University of Bristol.”

“This will be a change which will benefit everyone, and something we hope other universities will consider replicating.”