Sir Martin Harris has shown that limited progress has been made but the issue of the levels of entry attainment is a key factor blocking those with aspiration to enter the most competitive courses.

Alice Hynes CEO of GuildHE commented, “With pressure on places increasing, more programmes are becoming selective – GuildHE members have seen huge rises in their application rates. Admissions staff will use the qualification hurdle as a way of managing numbers and not just as a test of adequate preparation for engaging in that course of higher level study. The pre-occupation with hierarchy and stories about how difficult it is to enter some places tends to reinforce the sense of “not for me” and does not change attitudes of those who are first to go into higher education.

Worse – it actually serves as a smoke screen to disguise the much bigger issue about the number of those with aspirations to join graduate professions at all – for example in food technology or product  design – never mind so called “top” jobs. We need people educated to foundation degree level as well as more professional doctorates to secure successful economic growth against global competition, but these people we have led to hope for better are those who will be squeezed out as the brakes are placed on student recruitment this year.

For more information, please contact:
Alice Hynes, CEO GuildHE
tel. 020 7387 7711

Notes to editors

1. Sir Martin’s full report is available at 
2. GuildHE is a recognised representative organisation within the higher education sector. 

3. GuildHE members lead institutions which emphasise widening participation and access, and are among the most dynamic and fastest-growing institutions in higher education. For a list of GuildHE institutions, please click here