RSA Academies lead discussion on university and equality

Held at the RSA on 1 February in partnership with Warwick University, chaired by Alison Critchley, Chief Executive RSA Academies and including Samirah Roberts, Head of Sixth Form at Holyhead School.

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Why are disadvantaged students still underrepresented in our universities, and what can we do about it?

Despite efforts by universities and schools across the country, the gap between richer and poorer students stubbornly persists; from attainment in school to university application and acceptance. Educational and socioeconomic disadvantage disproportionately affects certain ethnic minority groups, and our current system risks further entrenching these patterns of injustice. With social mobility stalling, what can be done to remove barriers to accessing university education?

Should we focus on improving attainment in schools, or are there other cultural factors running deeper than these interventions? How can we encourage more disadvantaged students to apply to university, and how can we increase their chances of being accepted? How can schools and universities work together to make education fairer?

Our panel explores these questions, featuring Alan Rusbridger, Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, Dr Claire Crawford, Assistant Professor of Economics at Warwick University; Samirah Roberts, Head of Sixth Form at Holyhead School, an RSA academy; and Journalist Ismail Einashe.