Responding to today’s OFFA report on bursaries and retention, James Turner, Sutton Trust Director of Programmes said:

“OFFA’s bursaries research reinforces the case for universities to use more of their access funds on outreach work through summer schools and partnerships with schools to raise aspirations and impact on subject choices.

“Our summer schools have a proven record in encouraging students to set their sights higher and make strong, well-informed decisions. More outreach work with school pupils in the early years of secondary school could also have a powerful impact on further narrowing the participation gap between those from advantaged and disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

“The Trust is working with Durham University to review the available evidence and develop an evaluation system to identify what works best in improving access and outreach in higher education. As part of that research, we will also look at what can be done to support retention and overcome any barriers that students face while at university.”


1. The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 140 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions.

2. The Sutton Trust’s week long UK summer schools are designed to give bright students from non-privileged homes a taste of life at a leading university.  The programme reaches over 1,900 sixth form students across ten leading universities – Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial, King’s College London, Nottingham, the Royal Veterinary College, St Andrews and UCL. Independent evaluation has shown that young people have a significantly higher chance of going to a leading university if they attend one of the summer schools, with over three quarters (76%) going on to a leading university (either a member of the Russell or 1994 Groups) compared to just over half (55%) of students with similar academic and social profiles who did not apply to the scheme.

3. The closing date for applications to this year’s summer schools programme is Monday 10th March. Applications can be submitted via our website.

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