Worldwise News

NEON: Access to Higher Education, white young people and social class

Event 14.02.2019

National Education Opportunities Network (NEON) are holding a summit on Thursday 14th February in central London, which will bring together policymakers, practitioners and pressure groups, to discuss the HE sector’s progress in reducing the educational disadvantage experienced by young white people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Indeed, the evidence shows conclusively that white young people from disadvantaged groups are least likely to enter higher education (HE). In 2016-2017, the rate of entry to higher education among white boys and girls was 12% and 18% respectively which is lower than the rate of entry for almost all other ethnic groups (as reported by the office for national statistics). The UCAS End of Cycle Report 2018 shows the continued inequality by socio economic background and ethnicity, click here to view.

In addition to raising awareness of this inequality, NEON will be launching their findings around higher education participation of white students from disadvantaged backgrounds and the extent to which this differs by gender, age and HEI provider. This will provide an opportunity to ascertain which HEIs are doing particularly well in this area.

Providing a national picture of outreach work to engage students from this background through consultation with the sector. Please assist in ascertaining as accurate picture as possible of current initiatives in this area, by completing NEON’s survey which can be found here. Please complete the survey by Friday 25th January 2019.

The attendance of this crucial event will enable attendees to take away tangible ways of changing HE progression for young people from white disadvantaged backgrounds.


Speakers at the event include:

·         Charlie Brown, Lead Data Scientist, Contextual Data Service, UCAS

·         Luke Tryl, Director of Corporate Strategy, Ofsted

·         Dr Jessica Gagnon, Senior Research Fellow, School of Education and Sociology, University of Portsmouth

·         Professor Brian Murphy, Access, Digital and Distributed Learning, Ulster University

·         Dr Erik Cownie, School of Applied Social and Policy Studies, Ulster University

·         Lewis Croney, second-year Mathematics student at Trinity College, Cambridge

Places at this event are strictly limited and can be booked here.

There are important questions regarding who exactly should be targeted by HE to address this challenge, what work should be done and what the root cause of inequality is here. It is important that we come together to try and answer them.



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