Greater focus on Widening Participation recommended for medical schools

Medicine has fallen behind other subjects in Widening Participation across the UK, according to a report by the Medical Schools Council. 

The Selecting for Excellence report found half of UK secondary schools and colleges did not provide a single applicant to medicine in recent years. Around 20% of schools or colleges provide 80% of applicants to medicine, with grammar or independent schools being responsible for about half of all medicine applicants. 

The report makes a series of recommendations as to how medical schools and the Government can address the issue, including the use of outreach activity, the expansion of work experience for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and the use of contextualised admissions, where a student’s background is taken into account when deciding whether to award them a place on a University programme. 

Educational opportunities

Professor Vikram Jha, Head of the University’s School of Undergraduate Medical Education, said:“The University is proud of its reputation in promoting Widening Participation and the School of Medicine is involved in a number of activities aimed at ensuring that the social mix of its student community reflects society at large. 

“Working with the Educational Opportunities Team, we run a number of initiatives aimed at raising the aspirations of young people and encouraging them to consider a career in Medicine. The School’s outreach activity includes the Liverpool Scholars Programme, which supports talented students from backgrounds currently under-represented in higher education. We are also part of the Realising Opportunities Programme which works to promote the fair access and social mobility of students from under-represented groups.  

“We are proud of the diversity of our student population but we will be carefully considering the Selecting for Excellence report to see how we can build on further on our Widening Participation initiatives.”

The report sets 10-year targets for the increased participation of students from socio-economic groups which are currently under-represented in medicine.

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