‘England's top universities must do more to help schools in poor areas raise attainment, says the man charged with promoting fair access to university.
The argument that poorer teenagers' grades are often not good enough for top universities "just doesn't hold water", said Prof Les Ebdon, director of the Office for Fair Access (Offa).
Universities must make more effort to take poorer students, said Prof Ebdon.
Universities said they were already spending millions to widen access.
Prof Ebdon said that, for some time, "a number of universities, especially those with the highest entrance requirements, have told me that there's a limit to what they can do to improve fair access because people from disadvantaged areas secure, on average, lower entrance grades".
But he dismissed this argument.
"It is precisely because there are lower rates of attainment in disadvantaged areas that universities must work in close partnership with schools to raise attainment," he said.’ - BBC News
‘The Russell Group has previously said that disadvantaged teenagers are becoming more likely to go to one of its institutions, with many bursaries and financial aid available, but that children from disadvantaged backgrounds are under-achieving at school and getting poor advice and guidance.
In a guidance note to universities and colleges on access agreements, Prof Ebdon said he expected universities to set out clearly how they are working with schools to raise attainment.
This could include, where appropriate, sponsoring schools and academies to help raise standards faster.’ - Telegraph