There can be a lot at stake for working class young people receiving their A level results today. With the opening of an envelope, young people will find out whether they can take the next steps to a better future. For many there will be disappointment and relief, the education system can be a traumatic experience for a working class young person, in many schools and sixth forms, discipline is priority over learning. For some it will mean going to university, a journey into the unknown, for the majority they will be the first of their families to go into higher education, this can offer whole new set of challenges.

Educating All is a groundbreaking working class student led programme commissioned by youth leadership charity RECLAIM . Educating All addresses the barriers faced by working class students within higher education by working with universities to create tailored, student-centred solutions to improve the recruitment, retention, attainment and well-being of working class students. The Educating All report was launched in February and is available here.

There are endless obstacles for working class students at university. You are expected to seamlessly adapt to alien environments and understand procedures unfamiliar to anything you have experienced. At the same time you are trying to juggle the financial challenges which could mean needing a part-time job whilst completing your studies.

Universities must do better to enable working class young people to thrive within their institutions. The support when you consider the huge amounts invested in terms of tuition fees, which often stifle working class young people, show that current efforts by universities is not up to par with the challenge. The lack of adequate support is leading to the increase in students from ‘disadvantaged backgrounds dropping out’. In the  Educating All research into the barriers faced by working class student at university, over 70% of students who identify as working class cited their class as a barrier when integrating at university.

“In my first year at university I felt so isolated. I almost dropped out of university in my first year because I felt I wasn’t prepared for this.” (Law graduate, University of Bristol)It is great for the students that get into their chosen

institutions, but It is vital that universities listen to these students and take action to offer the necessary support beyond the point of access. In response to this pressing issue, we have developed an Innovative programme which validate and use the lived experience of working class students to provide tailored support for universities in order to improve the wellbeing and retention of working class students.It is time for universities for be brave in their solutions and actions, they can do that with the support of Educating All.

Terry Manyeh is available for interview or comment. Please contact him on 0161 234 2950 or [email protected]