Imperial College London

Universities can help disadvantaged students fulfil ambitions - Alice Gast


mathematics teaching

'Universities are taking matters into their own hands' on fair access, says Imperial's President.

Writing in the Economist, Professor Alice Gast said "fair university admissions and two decades of school reforms are pointing Britain in a meritocratic direction, but we have some way to go. By the time disadvantaged students apply to university, it is often too late. This is crucial in mathematics, where a proven high capability is essential for science, technology and engineering degrees."

This has spurred leading universities to found mathematics schools that help disadvantaged sixth form students. Imperial is set to open a specialist maths school in Autumn 2023 focused on attracting more female students, students from BAME groups and disadvantaged and under-represented communities into STEM. 

However, to reach an even wider audience, "we can lean harder on technology," Professor Gast writes.  

Imperial's free A-level mathematics and further mathematics courses on EdX "provide resources for students aspiring to the highest A-level mathematics grades. They can see, and build towards, the standards of elite universities."

"A happy by-product, consumer surplus, even, is that many outside Britain are taking these free courses, including in low- and middle-income countries."

The full letter can be read in the current issue of the Economist and online. 


Andrew Scheuber

Andrew Scheuber
Communications and Public Affairs

Click to expand or contract

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8197

Show all stories by this author


Outreach, Education, President
See more tags