Young people across London are more likely to access higher education than young people elsewhere in the UK.
POLAR reflects this and therefore there are very few areas of London that are POLAR4 quintile 1 or 2. This does not mean that POLAR is indicating that all young people in London are highly likely to enter higher education, just that a greater proportion will do so relative to other areas of the UK.
London is the region of the UK with the highest number of small areas that are simultaneously classified as deprived using the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD), and not classified as low participation using POLAR4.
This effect may be associated with other factors driving higher levels of participation in those areas, such as:
- level of parental education
- school performance
- breadth of higher education provision
- ethnicity profile.
POLAR is not a measure of socio-economic disadvantage, of either the individual or of areas.
Across the UK, and therefore within London too, there will be individuals living in areas with relatively high participation who may have other characteristics that are associated with lower access to higher education. Therefore assessments of individuals should consider multiple aspects of their background.
An intersectional approach, such as UCAS’s Multiple Equality Measure (MEM), is useful to identify the combination of factors that could otherwise be missed. POLAR is an important component of MEM.
The Office for Students has committed to develop intersectional measures to assess access and participation, and for other regulatory purposes.