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News article

University recognised for tackling social mobility

Published: 20 February 2020

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Rob Hickey, Justine Greening and Eleanor Ineson standing in front of York St John University

(l-r) Chief Operating Officer Rob Hickey, Rt. Hon. Justine Greening and Head of Admissions Eleanor Ineson pictured at York St John University

York St John University is commended in a report by Rt Hon. Justine Greening for its work to improve access to higher education. 

Presented by the former Secretary of State for Education, former Minister for Women and Equalities and founder of the Social Mobility Pledge, Justine Greening, the report offers insight into the issues that affect social mobility and the actions taken by the University to remove barriers to success.

Alongside its collaborative work with secondary schools and further education colleges to raise aspirations for young people, York St John University has developed a distinctive and innovative contextual offer scheme that recognises the challenges faced by many university applicants. 

Rt. Hon. Justine Greening visited York St John University to hear about its work to improve access to higher education and commented: “The grades determining an individual’s future beyond school can be a crude measure of their potential. Poor grades often don’t tell the full story, perhaps masking mitigating circumstances and extra challenges that the person has faced in getting those grades. A solution in the higher education sector is the contextualised applications approach – which looks much deeper than the grade sheet to decide on candidates.”

“York St John has taken a significant risk in embracing this approach. By considering applications contextually, the University is helping to curb wasted talent and potential – which is the essence of what the Social Mobility Pledge is striving to achieve.” 

The Social Mobility Pledge is a cross-party campaign which encourages universities and businesses to challenge the privilege and disadvantage that continue to limit social mobility in the UK. 

Almost 4,000,000 people from businesses and higher education institutes are now covered by the Social Mobility Pledge, which provides a wealth of knowledge and experience to allow talent to flourish on a more level playing field.

Rob Hickey, Chief Operating Officer at York St John University said: “The contextual offer scheme is one of several positive, holistic actions we take at York St John University to improve social mobility. We recognise that the challenge of inequality is ongoing, and that we have a vital role to play in improving opportunities for those who study here and for communities in our region and beyond. We’re very happy to share best practice within the higher education sector and hope the outcomes and learnings from this report will inspire changes we can all make towards a fairer society.” 

The University’s Social Mobility Pledge report was launched on 20 February 2020, the World Day of Social Justice. 

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