Awards recognition for York St John University’s work on social mobility
Published: 24 June 2022
Universities playing a leading role in levelling up the UK have been celebrated at the Levelling Up Universities Awards 2022.
The Awards were hosted by former Education Secretary Rt Hon Justine Greening with categories based around the Levelling Up Goals that she launched last year. The Goals provide a benchmark for activity focused on driving equality of opportunity from early years through to careers, alongside barriers such as the digital divide, health and infrastructure.
York St John University was the joint winner of the Award for “Achieving equality through diversity and inclusion.” This was for more than 60% of our students coming from underrepresented backgrounds and for personalised, one-to-one support from application to graduation.
York St John is particularly recognised for its efforts to welcome people from all backgrounds and make sure everyone gets the education they deserve. A driving force in this is our contextual offer scheme. This looks at an applicant’s academic potential alongside factors that prove to be barriers preventing students from attending university. These include being first in family to attend university, the area in which they live, and the relative performance of their school.
Care leavers automatically receive a reduced offer, and if someone is both a care leaver and the first in their family to attend university, they will receive an unconditional offer.
For care leaver Isabella, a reduced offer from York St John was a lifeline after her foster care placement had broken down and she had recently lost her mum.
“It was such a huge relief after the impact of bereavement on my studies. Applying to university felt like I was jumping through hoops when I was already jumping through hoops in my day-to-day life. When I got the reduced offer, it helped me feel I had less hoops to jump through. I still faced hurdles, but this meant there was one less.
“Academically, I’ve had the support I’ve needed, plus a financial bursary and a Learning Support Plan which has helped me cope. I’ve just been elected president of the Students’ Union for September, which shows just how much the university has enabled me to reach my potential.”
Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Vice Chancellor of York St John said: “There is so much valuable work being done in the HE sector to boost social mobility in the UK, and it is very positive to see this recognised with the Levelling Up Awards. Many teams and individuals at York St John University strive to ensure a university education is accessible to people from all backgrounds and to be named amongst the universities that are leading the way with social mobility is a real honour.”
Justine Greening said: “The higher education institutions recognised in the Levelling Up Universities Awards 2022 are spreading opportunity to people and places where it can make the biggest difference and breaking the cycle of Britain's endemic poor social mobility.
“With the current debate around policy changes in higher education, now is a perfect time to celebrate the work of our universities in providing those crucial opportunities to both learn and develop for young people of all backgrounds. It is important we also celebrate universities as anchor institutions and employers in the communities, regions and wider country they serve.
“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to all our winners and thank them for leading the way on levelling up.”
Read more about York St John’s contextual offer scheme https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/apply/offer-schemes/contextual-offer-scheme/
Read about the awards and all winners on the Fit for Purpose website https://www.fit-for-purpose.org/recent-stories/universities-at-the-forefront-of-levelling-up-celebrated-at-awards