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Universities asked to warm cold spots

Ten-year social reform plan moots role to address declining social mobility.

Incentives for alternative providers to open in higher education cold spots should be introduced, recommends the annual state of the nation report by the Commission on Social Mobility. The government should also encourage existing universities to set up satellite campuses or forge partnerships with further education colleges as part of their widening access agreements, it suggests.

The report says that the government should introduce a target to introduce higher education provision to 90 areas concentrated in the North East, East Midlands and South West of England, with all students able to access provision by 2025. “The post-16 choices available to young people are not fairly distributed, whether geographically or socially,” the report warns. Alan Miburn, its author, described a “new geography of disadvantage in Britain”, where certain areas lack good educational institutions and a graduate labour market, at the report’s launch on 16 November. He said that accepting the commission’s recommendations would give universities a role helping these parts of Britain to catch up.

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