Help is there for poorer students to enter the top professions, says Russell Group
The Russell Group has defended the UK's elite universities after statements by 'social mobility tsar' Alan Milburn that the professions - medicine in particular - are failing to open their doors to poorer students.
Dr Wendy Piatt agreed that fair access to professional careers is essential to improving social mobility, and that universities, as well as employers, schools, colleges and the Government, have a role to play. She said the group would look closely at his recommendations.
However, she pointed out that Russell Group universities already have 'a huge range of innovative programmes which help students from non-traditional backgrounds access higher education and then progress into the professions, including extended medical degrees at several universities.'
Three institutions where special measures are in place to target a wider range of student intake are:
- Kings College London, where students from schools in disadvantaged areas can study medicine on a special Extended Medical Degree Programme as long as they demonstrate real ability, potential and commitment. The programme is designed to give much more teaching support for first three years to enable them to catch up with students on the traditional course;
- the University of Southampton, with BM6, a six-year widening access to medicine programme which has now been running for nine years;
- and the University of Manchester which offers a foundation year for both medicine and dentistry specifically designed to prepare students from diverse educational backgrounds for entry to the five-year courses at their Medical School and Dental School.
Full statement on the Russell Group website