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The University’s Centre for Social Mobility is the first of it's kind in the UK

Life-changing work to promote social mobility by University of Exeter recognised at UK Social Mobility Awards

Life-changing work by the University of Exeter to support disadvantaged young people has been recognised at awards which honour excellence in promoting social mobility in Britain.

The university was highly commended in two categories - Innovation and University of the Year - in the UK Social Mobility Awards. The awards celebrate the achievements of businesses and organisations across the country.

Professor Lisa Roberts, University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are extremely proud of our work to improve social mobility and support those in society facing the biggest challenges, through promoting evidence-informed practice and policy. It is a testament to the excellence of the work being undertaken by my colleagues working in this critical area that they have been honoured at these prestigious awards.

“In recent months colleagues have rapidly responded to address the needs of disadvantaged pupils in lockdown and provide a financial life-line for students in hardship.”

Nicola Sinclair, Head of Widening Participation and UK Student Recruitment and Director (Practice) of the Centre for Social Mobility, said: “To be highly commended in two award categories indicates just how much progress the University has made in supporting social mobility and in making an impact, not just in our outreach and student support, but also in research and influencing government policy.

“We are delighted that the dedication and hard work of our University community in supporting this agenda has been recognised in this way.”

University of Exeter staff work with several thousand pupils and their teachers each year and help them achieve their potential via outreach activities to widen participation in higher education. The university was among the first to take contextual information into account in admissions other than just qualification results and has achieved sustained improvements in the diversity of its study body. Almost a quarter of UK undergraduates come from low income families. It also has some of the highest rates of retention, attainment and progression to graduate employment.

The University’s Centre for Social Mobility – the first in the UK – influences national policy and informs Government guidance, as well as researching and recommending support for disadvantaged students. Research has informed national debates and interventions such as the new national tutoring service, support in schools, contextual offers and transition support. Most recently academics carried out a rapid response research project looking at the educational impact of school closure on teachers, parents and students as a result of Covid-19.

The University of Exeter partners with local schools and other organisations to unlock student potential, address regional skills gaps, improve the gender balance in science, technology, engineering and maths and provide fair access to higher education. It is a joint sponsor of the Exeter Mathematics School and a partner in the Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust in Exeter.

Around 1,000 young people from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds take part in the free programme Exeter Scholars, which supports students to make informed choices about their future and go on to university.

The University of Exeter was the first university to provide emergency funding available to all students affected by Covid-19. Around £5m of bursaries are granted annually to around 23 per cent of UK undergraduates.

Date: 14 October 2020

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