NTU to co-lead national centre to promote social mobility

Nottingham Trent University has been selected to co-lead a national centre to research and develop best practices for universities on how to improve social mobility.

Working with King’s College London and the Behavioural Insights Team, the consortium has been chosen to establish and oversee an evidence and impact exchange.

The exchange – a charity that will launch during Spring 2019 – will focus on developing an evidence-based understanding of ‘what works’ to facilitate the access and success of students from underrepresented groups to higher education.

Working with experts across the sector, the consortium will develop an online toolkit, disseminate best practice and develop research forums to inform all higher education providers in their approaches to social mobility.

“It will enable people from diverse backgrounds to gain better access to higher education, to have better experiences at university, and to have better access to graduate jobs when they leave.”

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “It is a privilege for NTU and our partners to be selected to establish this important national centre which will help improve the ways in which higher education providers engage with students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Through employing an evidence-based approach, NTU makes a significant contribution to social mobility. This centre is an evolution of that approach, enabling all of us in the sector to develop a better understanding of the needs of underrepresented groups.

“It will enable people from diverse backgrounds to gain better access to higher education, to have better experiences at university, and to have better access to graduate jobs when they leave.”

Nottingham Trent University – the 2017 Times Higher Education University of the Year and the Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018 – recruits a quarter of its home undergraduates from households with a combined income of £15,000 or less.

The institution has an impressive graduate employment rate, with four out of five graduates securing graduate entry jobs or training six months after leaving NTU. These figures are broadly the same for all students, regardless of economic or ethnic background.

“NTU has long been committed to finding out ‘what works’ in higher education social mobility initiatives.”

David Woolley, Director of Student and Community Engagement at Nottingham Trent University

King’s College London is a research-intensive, selective university, a member of the Russell Group and the University of London. It has a track-record of commitment to and innovation in widening participation.

The Behavioural Insights Team, which was formerly part of the Cabinet Office, is a social purpose company and one of the largest conductors of randomised control trials in public policy in the country.

The OfS will fund the Exchange for three years. It is expected to become financially sustainable after that.

David Woolley, Director of Student and Community Engagement at Nottingham Trent University, said: “NTU has long been committed to finding out ‘what works’ in higher education social mobility initiatives. We are really excited to partner with like-minded institutions to progress this important agenda.”