'First Class Honours' for social mobility

Welcome news this week that LJMU is amongst the UK’s top performing universities for enabling social mobility.

LJMU has a long tradition of widening access and accelerating the career chances of youngsters from more disadvantaged backgrounds.

“So to be ranked in the top five UK institutions outside of London is pleasing,” says Peter Dolan, the university’s Outreach Manager.

The average proportion of 18-year-old entrants to LJMU from the lowest participation neighbourhoods and of recruits from state schools has long been above the national average.

Now a comprehensive report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Sutton Trust, has for the first time ‘measured’ not only the background of undergraduates but their progress, and given LJMU ‘First Class honours.

Specifically, for each university it calculates a “mobility rate”, which shows the proportion of students at the university who were FSM eligible and are amongst the top 2urturing 0% of earners at age 30.

 At LJMU, 17% of students who received free school meals at age 11 go on to enter the top 20% of earners. Other institutions achieve much higher rates but mainly because they accept only a handful of such students.

Pete Dolan added: “Targeted outreach has been a feature of our social mobility work for many years, delivery of initiatives such as summer schools, student mentoring and access to academic staff via sustained programmes, supports pupils in the local region and beyond to access the university year on year.

“We are confident this provides young people with a platform for them to reach their full potential. Nurturing students when they are with us to ensure they achieve what they are capable of, and are equipped with the necessary skills to successfully access graduate employment, is part of our connected strategy.”      

During the mid-2000s, just 16% of young people receiving free school meals aged 11 progressed to university, compared to 75% of the privately educated.

NB: LJMU was one of the first universities to sign up to The Purpose Coalition to tackle obstacles to social mobility in Britain.


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