ASCL comment on Sutton Trust report on stay-at-home students

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to research from the Sutton Trust into how financial difficulties are curbing educational choices.
It is disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that family background continues to play such a huge role in the opportunities available to young people. There are many reasons why students may decide to live at home but clearly living costs are becoming an increasingly big factor and causing some people to not even apply for university in the first place. It is obvious that the current tuition and maintenance loans are not adequately addressing this issue and there needs to be provision of maintenance grants for disadvantaged young people to ensure that everyone has the option to attend university. 
“The plan to de-fund the majority of BTECs and other applied general qualifications is only likely to compound the issue. These courses provide well-established pathways for young people, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds, into further and higher education. The worsening crisis in 16-19 funding must also be addressed as services that support students in applying to university are at risk of being cut. It is time to reform the pupil premium to provide funding for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year-olds, and to weight this towards pupils in persistent poverty