Manifesto for the Director of Fair Access & Participation 32: Justin Madders MP, All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Mobility

Brightside and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) have released a collection of action points for the new Office for Students on unlocking access to higher education. Reaching the parts of society universities have missed: A manifesto for the new Director of Fair Access and Participation contains the views of 35 leading thinkers from academia, university administration, Parliament, think tanks and the media.

We’re also publishing each entry individually. Here Justin Madders MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Social Mobility, gives his perspective:

The Class Ceiling report by the Social Mobility APPG on access to the leading professions advocates increasing the use of contextual recruitment, and the Office for Students should encourage exactly the same in higher education.

While universities have made much more progress towards this than the elite professions, the exact mechanisms of the recruitment process can too often be a mystery to the young people approaching it. This is particularly prevalent in those from schools without a history of sending pupils to top universities.

In relation to this, good careers advice can be transformative for young people and can drive them towards educational opportunities that they have never considered, but it is far too variable. There is a place for much greater collaboration between schools, universities and employers in spreading a ‘what works’ approach, so that as many people as possible find the options that suit them best.

This should be part of a far more strategic approach to social mobility, led by government, requiring cross-sector leadership and real collaboration. While there are excellent examples of good practice, too often this work is carried out in isolation.’