Higher education participation in London is widening, says new report

by Dave Hill

For the first time there are more Londoners in some form of higher education in the capital whose parents didn’t go to university than Londoners with parents who did, according to new research for London Councils.

The fifth Higher Education Journey of Young London Residents report also says that London-based students are from a broadening range of socio-economic backgrounds and that the participation of young people from black and minority ethnic groups (BAME) has increased.

Higher education participation in London as a whole has risen to its highest ever level, according to the report, which was compiled by researchers at Newham Council and the University of East London from data for 2015/16 covering 18-24 year-olds.

Peter John, the London Councils executive member for business and skills, said the figures showed that “opportunities at this level are beginning to spread to all areas of our society”.

The report finds that 67,988 young people “progressed to higher education” during the year in question, the highest number ever and evidence of a recovery to levels last seen before tuition fee increases beginning in 2010/11. It represents a 1% increase in participation from 2014/15. Of the total, 54.1% were female.

Increased participation in higher education was recorded in all but five of the capital’s 32 boroughs. Tower Hamlets topped the list with a 15.9% jump, followed by Westminster (11.7%), Islington (11.5%) and Lambeth (10.9%).

Barking and Dagenham recorded a small fall, but the report also shows that over a nine-year period from 2007/08 the borough has seen by far the largest proportional increase at 35%, followed by Enfield (27%) and Newham (24.%).

The new predominance of higher education entrants from London whose parents did not go to university is described by the report as “a very significant indicator of the impact of widening participation initiatives” concentrated in boroughs and schools where rates have been low.

Last week, the annual report of the government’s Social Mobility Commission found that disadvantaged young people in Greater London and the wider south-east had far better chances of improving their circumstances that those in the rest of England.

The report for London Councils records a 17.6% increase in students identifying themselves as Bangladeshi in 2015/16, an 8.5% hike among Pakistani Londoners and rises in all other BAME categories other than Chinese and Indian, which showed small falls.

The analysis also found that that a quarter of young higher education entrants were from families living in one of the 20% was deprived wards in England, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Read the Higher Education Journey of Young London Residents report here.

 

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