Director of Fair Access addresses MPs on remaining challenges in fair access

Speaking later today at the All-Party Parliamentary Universities Group meeting on widening participation, Professor Les Ebdon, Director of Fair Access to Higher Education, will introduce the Office for Students’ (OfS) Director for Fair Access and Participation, Chris Millward, saying:

“Since access agreements were first introduced, we’ve seen a national success story in widening access to higher education for young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds [note 1]. But progress has not been fast enough, and it has not gone far enough. We still have a long way to go to achieve true equality of opportunity.

“As the OfS begins its work on access and participation plans, they face a number of pressing issues. Part-time student numbers have dropped drastically in recent years and show no sign of improving. There are significant unexplained gaps between BME students and their White peers in terms of degree outcomes and progression to professional employment. And entry rates to those universities with the highest entry requirements, while much improved since 2012, remain unacceptably low for the most disadvantaged young people.

“I am very encouraged by the guidance the OfS has published for higher education providers, and confident that I am handing over to a Director who will prioritise fair access and strive for the transformational change we need to see.”


For further information contact Aislinn Keogh (Press and Communications Adviser) at OFFA on 0117 931 7173 or



  1. The entry rate to full-time higher education for the most disadvantaged young people (POLAR3 Quintile 1) has increased by 82 per cent since 2006.