Access Agreement target categories | University of Oxford

Access Agreement target categories

Four of Oxford’s targets in its Access Agreements with the Office for Fair Access relate to increasing the proportion of UK undergraduates from the following categories:

  • Students from schools and colleges which historically have had limited progression to Oxford

  • Students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds (ACORN)

  • Students from neighbourhoods with low participation in higher education (POLAR)

  • Students with disabilities.

All our Access Agreements are available on the OFFA website.

The 2017 intake marks the first to be covered by Oxford’s new Access Agreement with OFFA, which sets targets to be reached by 2019. However, it is useful to note that with this intake the University has met three of the four targets from the previous Access Agreement (targets 2, 3 and 4) and has made additional progress towards target 1.

1) Students from schools and colleges which historically have had limited progression to Oxford: defined as schools and colleges where 30 or fewer students achieve AAA over a three-year period (ie an average of 0-10 students per year achieve AAA), but where there is limited historical success in putting forward successful candidates for Oxford. The target was to increase the proportion of UK students coming from this group of schools and colleges to 25% by 2016-17.

  • 19.8% of the 2016 cohort is from these target 1 schools
  • 20.9% of the 2017 cohort is from these target 1 schools 

This target has been reconfigured for the new Access Agreement, to relate specifically to state schools and colleges with high attainment at GCSEs and A-levels but that historically have limited progression to Oxford. The target is to increase the proportion of UK students coming from this groups of schools and colleges to 15.9% by 2019. In 2017 we have achieved 16.8%.

2) Students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas: defined as UK students coming from ACORN postcodes 4 and 5 (ie the least advantaged areas in the UK). The target was to increase the proportion of UK students coming from this group to 9% by 2016-17.

  • 8.2% of the 2016 cohort are from this target
  • 10.5% of the 2017 cohort are from this target

We have also already met the new target of 9.5%, which was set to be achieved by 2019.

3) Students from neighbourhoods with low participation in higher education: defined as UK students coming from POLAR2 quintiles 1 and 2 (the postcode areas with the lowest rates of progression to higher education, representing the 40% of school leavers least likely to progress to higher education). The target was to increase the proportion of UK students coming from this group to 13% by 2016-17.

  • 11.8% of the 2016 cohort are from POLAR2 areas
  • 13.1% of the 2017 cohort are from POLAR2 areas

12.9% of the 2017 cohort are from POLAR3 areas, which is the measure in the new Access Agreement. We are on track to meet our new target of 13.0% which was set to be achieved by 2019.

4) Disabled students: Over the last five years Oxford has consistently exceeded the HEFCE benchmark that disabled students make up 3.2% of the total undergraduate population.

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