Justine Greening MP praises NTU report into improving access and success for all students

Justine Greening MP visited Nottingham Trent University (NTU) today (Weds) to launch a report setting out recommendations on how to improve access to and participation in higher education.

NTU was the first university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge launched by Justine Greening MP in March last year. Its aim is to share best practice among participating organisations to find solutions to improving life chances, regardless of someone’s background. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

After signing the pledge, NTU worked with Think Social Mobility – a research arm of the Social Mobility Pledge – to produce a report giving insights into the successes it has had in improving access to university and raising attainment levels of students from areas where participation in higher education is low. The report, called Closing the UK’s progression gap, also sets out recommendations for other universities and businesses to follow. These include using data to identify and target support for students who may be at risk of falling behind or dropping out of university. It also highlights NTU research showing that taking a sandwich year placement enhanced graduate prospects regardless of a student’s background and levelled the playing field between advantaged and less advantaged students.

NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving.

Justine Greening MP also revealed the results of a Social Mobility Pledge survey into people’s expectations of universities in improving life chances during her visit.

She said: “Basically, people across our country rightly have an expectation that universities are open to students irrespective of their background – yet three quarters of people believe elite universities are not doing enough to recruit students from less well-off backgrounds – but also about what happens once students are there.

“Nottingham Trent is a great example of a university that understands the importance of this. They are using technology to track signals often missed by the human eye and to then generate an intervention in good time. The overall effect is improved engagement, which is a key factor in higher levels of social mobility.”

The report was launched at the University’s Clifton Campus where the MP also met students and saw an exhibition of photographs submitted by staff and students at NTU, depicting what ‘opportunity’ means for them.

We are keen to share our experiences with others so we can all work towards helping our students and graduates achieve the best outcomes possible.

Professor Eunice Simmons, Deputy Vice-Chancellor NTU

Professor Eunice Simmons, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at NTU, welcomed Justine Greening to the campus, nearly six months after she last visited to see NTU sign the Social Mobility Pledge.

Prof Simmons said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Justine back to the university. We are keen to share our experiences with others so we can all work towards helping our students and graduates achieve the best outcomes possible. It is why we were the first university to sign the Social Mobility Pledge and it is why we are proud to have been able to work with Think Social Mobility to produce the Closing the UK’s progression gap report which we hope will allow others to benefit from the successes we have achieved in this area.”

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