Newnham Admissions Tutor Dr Sam Lucy speaks to the BBC on widening participation

Newnham College’s Admissions Tutor, Dr Sam Lucy, spoke on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, setting out the University’s progress in reaching out to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr Lucy is Director of Admissions for the Cambridge Colleges, a Fellow of Newnham College, and a specialist in Late Roman and Anglo-Saxon archaeology.

Over the past years, the University of Cambridge has expanded its work with state school students, particularly students from areas where few people access higher education, work which is now having an impact. 2017 has seen the University reach new highs, with 64.1% of Home students accepted coming from state school backgrounds. Admissions from students in Polar3 Quintile 1 (areas with the lowest participation in higher education) have risen from 3.3% to 4.6%. The proportion of UK students accepted from ethnic minority backgrounds increased from 21.8% to 22.1%, a record high. However, we would all acknowledge that there is still work to be done.

Newnham has been leading the way, with innovative events such as our Pupil Premium Open Day, the University’s first fully-funded outreach event for students eligible for the pupil premium grant.
This follows events aimed at girls from a variety of backgrounds, such as our Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, in which students came together from across the country to address sexism in Wikipedia, and our annual Rosalind Franklin Conference, which supports sixth formers in engaging confidently in academic conversations about science, technology, engineering and maths topics.

Newnham is particularly proud of our BME Women’s Conference, set up and run by our undergraduate students, which reaches out to high-achieving black and minority ethnic Year 12 students. Now in its second year, the BME Women’s Conference was once again oversubscribed. We look forward to seeing many young women from our outreach programmes join us as students in the future.

Listen again to the discussion on the Today programme from 2hr 40 in.

For more information about Newnham College’s Widening Participation work, see our dedicated Twitter account and our undergraduate admissions pages.

Read more about University’s progress on expanding access to Higher Education.