ASCL responds to Speakers for Schools’ report on university access


Kevin Gilmartin, Post-16 Specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to a report from Speakers for Schools, which says unequal access to work experience and enrichment activities is preventing some young people from disadvantaged backgrounds from attending top universities.


“We agree with Speakers for Schools about the importance of high-quality work experience and enrichment activities. The problem is that schools and colleges are poorly funded and under pressure on many fronts. They often lack the time, staffing and resources needed for many things including organising and providing these opportunities. More investment is urgently required to support this provision as well as for careers guidance and advice.

“The use of personal statements in university applications is also unhelpful as it creates the perception that work experience and enrichment activities are an important requirement, thereby creating a barrier to disadvantaged students who may have less opportunities in this regard. We are aware that Ucas is reviewing this system and we support any reform which removes such barriers.”