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Mentoring into higher education : a useful addition to the landscape of widening access to higher education?

Alan Milburn, the Chair of the Government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission recently highlighted the role of education in progressing social mobility in Scotland; ‘In my view it’s a grave social injustice that only one in forty pupils from Scotland’s most deprived households…got three As in their Highers in 2011, compared to one in ten across all income levels’. An analysis of the data on school leavers in Scotland also points towards a considerable inequality in access to higher education in particular.

This paper reports on a research and development project that progressed the provision of intergenerational mentoring for young people from communities experiencing social and economic disadvantage.

The findings affirm the role of research in such innovation and indicate that intergenerational mentoring offers a process, long awaited, through which young people can gain access to the different forms of social and cultural capital that are implicitly essential for progression into higher education.

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