The Office of National Statistics released figures last week illustrating that the North East has the lowest figure for participation in higher education, with only 29% of residence having attended university. In comparison inner city London has the highest number of graduates, at 60%.

This North/South divide is prevalent at the University of Nottingham (UoN), with many students reporting that the University seems predominantly Southern, and that ‘Northerners’ appear outnumbered and sometimes excluded.

“Last year, only two people out of my group of twelve hall friends weren’t from London”.

The official figures from the intake of UK undergraduate students in 2012/13 at the University generally support the assumption that UoN largely consists of students who originally resided in the South.

27% are reported to come from the South East whilst 19% are from Greater London. This contrasts with 6% from Yorkshire and Humber, 9% from the North West and 2% from other areas in the North.

Undergraduate students especially noted this divide in their first year spent in university accommodation.

A second year Medic commented: “Last year, only two people out of my group of twelve hall friends weren’t from London.”

The South East contributed to the second largest number of postgraduate students.

This sentiment was echoed through the views of a second year Sociology student, who stated: “A lot of people at the University are from the South, I have met hardly anyone from the North. This gives the whole University quite a ‘southern’ feel.”

Nevertheless, 48% of the University’s postgraduate research students in 2012/13 came from the East Midlands. Yet, the South East still contributed to the second largest number of postgraduate students, at 11%.

There is extensive debate about whether the under-represented areas of the UK are a reflection of lower socio-economic backgrounds. Consequently, the University is aiming to broaden the accessibility of higher education, to under-represented areas.

Nottingham Potential is a widening participation scheme at the University that promotes higher educational aspiration and supports its attainment.

Due to this initiative, students from local participating schools and colleges now comprise 9% of the intake at UoN, a percentage which has increased from 4% in 2002.

A diverse student population is essential to vibrant intellectual enquiry and a resilient knowledge economy.

Half the students progressing from these schools reside in deprived postcodes. These students contribute to admissions from the East Midlands, which makes up a total of 14% of undergraduate students last academic year.

Nottingham Potential prides itself on making higher education available for all, as 24.6% of UK students who began university in September 2012 were from low-income backgrounds; marking yet another increase from 17% in 2004.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England stated in their strategy statement in 2011: “Widening participation brings considerable public benefit. A diverse student population is essential to vibrant intellectual enquiry and a resilient knowledge economy.”

Amy Jaciuch

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7 Comments

  1. Michael
    November 29, 2013 at 16:54 — Reply

    ‘2% of UoN Undergrads from the North.’ – This can’t be true.
    Do you mean 20%? I’m from Yorkshire and, while there are certainly more Southerners than Northerners, 2% seems unbelievable. Not ‘unbelievable’ as in ‘shocked and appalled’ but as in it’s just untrue.
    Unless, that is, the North is defined as the Shetland Islands.

  2. John Marr
    November 30, 2013 at 06:11 — Reply

    If you’re going to publish an article about statistics, you should at least link to the original source or the article may as well be made up.

  3. Richard
    November 30, 2013 at 12:30 — Reply

    And people from state schools? 0.9%! Bravo for elitism.

  4. November 30, 2013 at 13:04 — Reply

    The stats are from a Freedom of Information request sent to the University. Here is the link if anyone wants to read 🙂

    http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/planning/statistics/2012-13/List-excel.html

  5. Duncan Davis
    November 30, 2013 at 13:59 — Reply

    From the cited statitics, 17% of undergraduates are from the North of England. Impact fail.

    Breakdown:
    – 9% North West
    – 6% Yorkshire & Humber
    – 2% ‘North’ (presumably the North East region)

  6. November 30, 2013 at 14:37 — Reply

    Article amended following our inability to count.

  7. anonymous
    December 2, 2013 at 20:47 — Reply

    Journalism should make sure the title contains an accurates stat, nwo it’s less hard hitting but you didn’t mind sending it out without any proofreading or fact checking so long as people get provoked by the title

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