GHWY highlights equality of opportunity risk around geography and access in TASO report

Data that was submitted by Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) has been included in a recently published report that will inform the development of a sector-wide Equality of Opportunity Risk Register (EORR). 

The register, which the Office for Students (OfS) published on Wednesday, 29 March, identifies key sector-level risks to equality of opportunity in higher education (HE). Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) produced a rapid evidence review into the plans that considered contextual issues and different stages of the student lifecycle. 

As part of its review, TASO issued a Call for Evidence in December 2022. GHWY responded to this and at short notice worked with some of our 13 members to provide data to support the identification of a relevant risk.  

GHWY’s submission highlighted a meta-risk around HE provision and geography. It noted that neighbourhoods in West Yorkshire are significantly over-represented in the 10% most deprived nationally. In turn, these are characterised by an over-representation of people with no or low-level qualifications. This skills deficit means that local residents do not always get higher skilled roles. 

Drawing on HESA data for 2021-22, we were able to demonstrate how in three medium to large HE providers in the region, around 50% of their UK students are from local areas. These local students are much more likely to be from groups currently considered under-represented in UK HE. 

Our submission stressed the importance of local HE provision – such as that delivered by many of our member institutions – in helping to provide opportunities to those from local communities, to groups under-represented in HE who may need to stay local during their studies, and those in communities characterised by education, skills and training deprivation. 

Read TASO’s ‘Rapid review to support development of the Equality of Opportunity Risk’.