September 22, 2020 @ 9:52 by Richard Dawson
A North East institution has been named University of the Year for Social Inclusion, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
University of Sunderland has been recognised for its success in attracting capable people into higher education, whatever their background or circumstances, and helping them achieve their potential.
This marks the third year running that the university has ranked in the top 20 of the social inclusion list – but the first time it has achieved the University of the Year honour.
Last year, Sunderland opened a new School of Medicine with the specific intention of attracting a more diverse intake into the medical profession.
Sunderland is one of a handful of universities where more than 60 per cent of the intake are the first in their family to go to university and more than 98 per cent are educated in non-selective state schools.
Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor and chief executive of the university, said: “Whether undertaking a foundation degree or studying in our medical school, students from all kinds of backgrounds have the opportunity to improve their career prospects and life chances when attending the University of Sunderland.
“With a long tradition of being an open and accessible institution, we are absolutely delighted to have been recognised as University of the Year for Social Inclusion.”
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, added: “Sunderland’s track record for widening participation to higher education is hard to match.
“The new medical school is the cherry on the cake with its ambitious plan to make the intake to medical profession more closely resemble the diverse backgrounds of their patients.
“Initiatives to engage schoolchildren who have the capability but not the motivation to aim for university are particularly bold.
“The sheer range of outreach and access work here makes an unanswerable case for making Sunderland our University of the Year for Social Inclusion.”