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

RECLAIM Education is a groundbreaking student led programme commissioned by youth leadership charity RECLAIM, with the overarching aim of addressing the barriers faced by working class students within higher education. RECLAIM Education works with universities to create tailored, student-centred solutions to improve the recruitment, retention, attainment and well-being of working class students.

Our model seeks to put working class students at the heart of university life by using students to co-design, deliver and to facilitate programmes. This ensures that outcomes are effective, organic and lasting.

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? 

RECLAIM Education delivers the following:

  • Training sessions - Improving staff understanding of the needs of working class students in your institution, the sessions bring staff and students together to promote better teamwork and communication.

  • Roundtable events - Sessions bring together groups of stakeholders from across a university, including students and staff from admissions, widening participation and teaching, to explore the specific barriers that exist for working class students. The roundtables then encourage collaborative solutions to be found..

  • Research and interviews - An extended programme, combining interviews, case studies and surveys of working class students at your institution, to place the student voice at the heart of creating solutions to the barriers they face.

RECLAIM Education’s facilitation is built on an extended research project exploring the barriers working class students face across universities. 

  • Working class young people don’t see elite universities as ‘places for them’
  • Working class students often lack confidence and a sense of entitlement to university success
  • Mental health support needs improvement and is particularly important for working class students

If you are interested in finding out more, or accessing our support, please get in touch at [email protected]