White British males from the lowest socioeconomic status backgrounds are less likely than any other group to access higher education.
This short film from the Uni Connect HE Can project highlights the barriers to accessing higher education for this group and shows the impact of the HE Can project on students’ aspirations.
- Experimental OfS analysis (based on modelled probabilities) shows that 97 per cent of 18 to 19 year old white British young males who received free school meals are in the group that are least likely to enter higher education.
- The analysis also shows that 91 per cent of white young males from IMD (index of multiple deprivation) quintile 1 areas and 84 per cent of white young males from POLAR quintile 1 areas are in the group least likely to enter higher education.
- Key barriers to higher education for this group include poor achievement in compulsory education and different types of aspirations and expectations.
- A LKMco report suggests that white British males from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may hold negative perceptions or misconceptions of higher education. These may be reinforced by a lack of exposure to higher education graduates.
- The report also suggests that white British males from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may be more attracted to non-higher education based routes into the labour market as the financial benefits are more immediate than those from a higher education course.
This group is generally identified by socioeconomic status measures such as education, income and occupation.
Some reports and media coverage have referred to this group as ‘white working-class boys’ or ‘white working-class males’. Definitions based on social class should be avoided as they relate to personal perception and are more subjective.
We recognise that, due to difficulties with defining this group, there are ongoing challenges in ensuring all students who may be disadvantaged are supported.