Letter: Value in the old 2

January 25, 2002

The percentage of any university's students that come from lower social groups cannot be measured against a national norm as most students from these groups study locally.

Recent research commissioned by my department shows that local catchments of the University of Plymouth have only 38.3 per cent of households in neighbourhoods that attract "postcode" premiums, compared with 52.7 per cent nationally. Small wonder that with per cent fewer households in the target group, we appear less successful in the access stakes.

Many northern and Scottish universities have much larger numbers of the target groups in their local catchments, so it is hardly surprising that they appear to be doing well.

Taking regional variations into account, Plymouth should appear in the ranks of the most successful in attracting underrepresented social groups.

Ian Tunbridge
Head of academic partnerships
University of Plymouth

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