Most of the public think Oxbridge don’t do enough for access

I mean, can you blame them


According to a recent survey held by former Education Secretary Justine Greening, nearly three-quarters of the British public believe that Oxbridge do not do enough to take on students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The study was undertaken by Greening's Social Mobility Pledge, an organisation based on the idea that having a degree was a launchpad to better careers.

The survey of 2,000 people with 73 per cent saying that they did not think that the prestige universities were doing enough. Justine Greening believed it should be a "wake-up call" for the institutions.

Recently, as always, access has been a hot topic in Cambridge. With the rejection of Adonis' idea of "access colleges" and initiatives within the university to make May Ball tickets cheaper for those on a bursary, it is been constant.

The Tab reached out to the CUSU access officer, Shadab Ahmed, for comment: "Whilst there are still huge amounts of work to do for access, there are vast amounts of money and effort being put into outreach by Cambridge.

"More targeted work should be done by the collegiate university to address the specific issues that certain demographics exist, whether that is due to structural systems of oppression, austerity driven cuts by the government, or cultural nuances that need to be understood and discussed.

"This statistic however shows that no matter how much outreach work goes on, there seems to be a problem in communicating this to the wider public."

"The shadowing scheme run by CUSU this year for example, brought over 135 students on Free School Meals, over 180 BME students and over 110 students from POLAR4 Q1/2. The scheme really does attract the right demographics, however these are students who are already considering higher education. The next step would be to find not only those most disadvantaged and under-represented, but those who do not even consider Higher Education or have not had the educational means to do so, something the university is looking to address through a Foundation Year.

"The University also issued a statement that said, 'We are committed to making further progress but we cannot do it in isolation. As a country, we must focus on raising ambitions and attainment levels in schools and on changing perceptions among parents and teachers.

"All of our places are offered on merit – which is necessary to make sure that students can cope with the rigours of their course – but we pay close attention to contextual data on socio-economic background and schooling."