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The thin white line

We need to pay attention to access for disadvantaged white students, says the director of the National Education Opportunities Network.

It appears to be a thin line that divides success and failure where access to higher education is concerned. This month’s Higher Education Statistics Agency data showed that fewer students from state schools, but more students from the lowest-participation areas, were going to university.

This line is particularly thin where white students are concerned. They constitute more than 80 per cent of the students in the areas of lowest participation. This is mainly a result of relying on geographical measures of participation—London has only 13 low-participation neighbourhoods, so its thousands of black and minority ethnic students from lower-income households are skewed in the data. Nevertheless, the progress in terms of students from low-participation areas does represent progress for white students.

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