Russell Group universities celebrate first anniversary of successful teacher support programme

Man typing on laptop

Teachers across the country are benefitting from resources designed by Russell Group universities - including the University of Sheffield - aimed at helping them support their students to succeed.

The Advancing Access initiative provides support for teachers and advisers in helping students to choose the right university and course, and understand and navigate the admissions process.

The resources have been accessed by over 850 teachers and careers advisers, at nearly 450 schools and colleges across the UK.

Guidebooks, information sheets and video case studies, developed in partnership with schools and colleges, are just some of the resources available through the programme. The website also hosts online events and conferences enabling teachers and advisers to interact with university admissions staff.

A survey of those registered with Advancing Access found that:

  • 100% of respondents agreed that the information and resources were useful, up-to-date and accurate.
  • 98% agreed that the resources reflected their experience of preparing students to apply to leading universities.
  • 76% agreed that the resources provided information they didn’t know before.

The University of Sheffield has a longstanding commitment to widening participation and each year works with over 500 local and regional schools and colleges and engages with over 40,000 outreach participants across the UK. Over 90 per cent of young people undertaking the University’s sustained outreach programmes have no family history of higher education and Sheffield’s record in this area makes the University one of the leading Russell Group universities for widening participation.

Sheffield is also joining forces with the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) to lead a sector-wide symposium on Widening Participation (WP) - marking a vital step change in how the sector approaches WP evaluation.

James Busson, Chair of the Russell Group Widening Participation Association, said: “Teachers play a key role in supporting young people in making decisions about their future and helping them to succeed in achieving their goals. These resources are being used by a teachers and advisers across the country to support them in undertaking this important task. This is a unique collaboration between Russell Group universities working with schools and colleges to give teachers the tools they need to support their students make successful applications to university.”

This is a unique collaboration between Russell Group universities working with schools and colleges to give teachers the tools they need to support their students make successful applications to university.

James Busson, Chair of the Russell Group Widening Participation Association

Russell Group universities will invest £254 million on access programmes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds this year, rising to £270 million in 2018/19. They make a positive impact by working with around 8,000 schools across the country, helping to raise standards, attainment and aspirations for young people.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive of the Russell Group, said: “The success of Advancing Access in its first year demonstrates that the resources are providing the support needed by teachers and careers advisers.

“Our universities have made real progress in widening access to their institutions in recent years with the number of disadvantaged and state school students rising significantly, but we recognise there is more work to do. The next challenge for Advancing Access will be to target those schools with the potential to send more pupils to a Russell Group university and provide them with the information and advice they need to realise that potential.”

Register for Advancing Access resources

Additional Information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Shemina Davis
Media Relations Manager
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 5339