Once we’d got the letter saying that we’d got into university, that’s when we thought the educational inequality and social inequality ended. When I got to university, it became apparent within the first three weeks that this wasn’t the case. University of Bristol, Law graduate

Educating All is an innovative, youth led research project exploring institutional and personal barriers faced by working class young people at the top universities in the UK.  The project is run by two young people with direct experience of the challenges we faced in the higher education system, giving us greater insight into the issues raised by research participants.

We are working to break down some of the barriers faced by working class young people at universities, aiming to level the playing field for all students to excel and succeed.  We are unique in foregrounding the voices of working class students in identifying potential solutions to improve well-being and retention within university.

Why are we doing this? 

Despite efforts by successive governments, employers and educators to put social mobility higher on the public agenda, social and educational inequalities are still major issues in our country. It is too often the case that our education system entrenches rather than eliminates inequality. Not only are working class young people less likely to go to university in the first place, they are also more likely to drop out and less likely to achieve the highest degree classifications once they are there.

In my first year at university I felt so isolated, I felt like I wasn’t prepared I almost dropped out of university in my first year because I felt I wasn't prepared for this. University of Bristol, Law graduate

What are we doing? 

Educating All aims to address the barriers and disadvantage faced by working class young people at top universities past the point of access, and has undertaken initial research to produce a report.  The Educating All report highlights case studies and examples of lived experiences of working class young people at university and makes key recommendations to universities, focused on improving the retention, attainment and well-being of their working class students.

We now plan to create dialogue between universities and working class students and help both understand the methods of best practice, existing barriers and potential solutions.  We are consulting with universities and working class young people to clarify issues and challenges, and develop new solutions to these problems – in partnership with students and professionals.  Alongside a group of working class students, we will create tailor-made solutions for universities and a general toolkit for universities on how to implement our recommendations.

If you are interested in finding out more, or accessing our support, please get in touch at educatingall@reclaimproject.org.uk

Find the report here.