Response to allocation of teaching grants for the 2021-22 financial year

AccessHE, a key division of London Higher and a pan-London network driving the agenda for HE access for underrepresented learners, has today submitted its response to the Office for Students (OfS) consultation on the Uni Connect programme.

In its response, AccessHE highlighted one of Uni Connect’s strengths in its local collaborative approach to tackling higher education access gaps, but raised concerns about the use of the use of a ‘one size fits all’ target that limits the ability of the regional partnerships delivering the programme to address these gaps. This is because their underlying causes are very often rooted in place and are therefore unique to specific areas, an issue particularly relevant in London where only 13 wards meet Uni Connect’s targeting criteria.

In looking forward to phase three of the programme, AccessHE recommends combining the standardised elements of phases one and two with regional adjustments to account for the distinctive nature of access and participation challenges in different parts of the country.

Dr Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher said;

“Universities and higher education institutions across London are committed to widening access to higher education. AccessHE – a core division of London Higher – enables our members to collaborate with a host of local partners, from schools and colleges to councils and business, to showcase higher education opportunities and ensure that everyone in society has the opportunity to understand the benefits higher education can bring to their lives. We look forward to the programme’s continued success.”

Dr Richard Boffey, Deputy Head of AccessHE said;

“Delivering outreach work right across London, AccessHE helps schools and colleges access outreach activities that suit their specific needs, as well as bringing together local partners to foster the collaboration that is integral to ensuring that all of the capital’s students are aware of, and can benefit from, the educational opportunities that the city has to offer.

This consultation is a timely opportunity to review the programme, and to make recommendations to ensure that regional variations, such as those in London, are taken account of to ensure that all students can benefit from the opportunities that the programme provides.”

Notes to editors

The full AccessHE submission can be found here.

Details on the Uni Connect programme can be found here.

AccessHE leads outreach work with schools in London. In partnership with various HE providers in the capital, AccessHE delivers programmes of outreach activities to North London schools in areas identified by government data as having high social deprivation and lower than expected numbers of learners progressing to higher education based on GCSE attainment.

London Higher is an ‘umbrella’ body representing nearly 50 universities and higher education colleges in London. We are the place where universities and higher education colleges come together to identify the opportunities and address the challenges of working in London.