Wealthier students ‘plan university applications earlier’

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Wealthier students ‘plan university applications earlier’

Students from wealthier backgrounds aim for university earlier than those from disadvantaged areas, new research says.

According to a report by education charity Teach First, almost half (47%) of students from privileged backgrounds said they always knew they would consider university compared to 28% of those from low income backgrounds.

Wealthier students also started planning their applications earlier, with 23% starting during their GCSEs. They were also more likely to have taken part in non-academic extracurricular activities to support their applications.

The charity is calling on universities to invest more funding in engaging young people about higher education from a younger age. It recommends starting with primary level pupils with a particular focus from 14 years old – a ‘key decision making point’.

Ndidi Okezie, Executive Director ­– Delivery at Teach First, said: “Despite instances of progress, on the whole, pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds still face three major hurdles to reach higher education: they continue to lag behind their wealthier peers in attainment, they lack awareness of the opportunities presented by university and, as our findings today show, they too often fail to receive quality assistance that can turn aspiration into reality.”

This research follows a report last month from UCAS which said children are twice as likely to attend a ‘higher tariff’ university if they are certain they wish to progress on to higher education at the age of 10.

ASDAN is currently working on an innovative project that aims to raise the career and education aspirations of young people aged 10 to 12.

'Building for progression: a foot on the ladder' is an 18-month scheme designed to help young people make a successful transition to secondary school, as well as raising their career and education aspirations. Project findings will be used to create Lift Off – a new ASDAN course to assist learners in making the transition from primary to secondary school, due for release in January 2017.

Lift Off is designed for primary school age learners at Key Stage 2 (Year 5/6) who are about to make the transition into Key Stage 3 (Year 7) at secondary school. It develops a ‘whole person, whole journey’ approach to progression and achievement, rather than solely focusing on academic attainment.

A national conference to disseminate the findings of the project will take place on 15 November in London and will be addressed by Sir Tim Brighouse, former London Commissioner for Schools. To find out more about the project and to book a place at the event, please email events@asdan.org.uk

A recent blog on the Lift Off programme contains the initial findings from the project. Please visit the ASDAN website for further information.