|Cambridge University students: Spot the difference...|
A new government report has shown a small drop in the % gap between HE students from poor social backgrounds, and those from more privileged backgrounds. This has been reported by the Times Higher Ed. as exposing access problems for the poorest students - implying (although not going so far as to actually declare) that this constitutes a failure in government policies aimed at increasing widening participation in HE.
This is a little bit unfair. The gap, which was a difference of 19% in 2005/6 dropped to a meagre 18% in 2010/11 - which suggests an ever-so small increase in the inclusiveness of HE access. Nothing to get too excited about though, particularly as the report shows a 1% reduction of widening participation in the UK's most selective HE institutions in that same period (from 25% to 24%).