Simon Hughes: Office for Fair Access must be given teeth
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
"This is further confirmation of how many English universities are failing to advance social mobility. This report confirms why the new Government has been right to make widening access to higher education a priority for this parliament.
"The spotlight is now well and truly on our top academic institutions and from now on they will have nowhere to hide.
"In my report to the Prime Minister in July, I made clear that the powers of OFFA should be strengthened in the higher education bill that will be coming soon. OFFA must be given the power to use sanctions against those institutions which do not deliver more places to young people from less privileged backgrounds. In every region of England, all universities should also co-ordinate outreach so that no secondary school or college student does not know the opportunities and benefits of going to university.
"Top universities must work much harder to increase their number of students from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds.
And in the next few weeks, everyone who is doing A-levels next year- whatever their background- should consider Cambridge and Oxford as well as every other university, and to rule nowhere out. "
Copies of the full access report can be found at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/hughes-report