The University of Worcester has been ranked in the top 10 of universities across the UK for class equality, according to new analysis by an independent higher education think tank.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) study reveals that the University of Worcester ranks eighth out of 132 universities for ensuring that people from all backgrounds have the chance to study at university.
In contrast, both the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford came in the bottom 10 of the rankings.
The HEPI study used 2016 admissions figures for undergraduate students to look at each university's success in widening participation and ensuring access to people from all backgrounds. It used the POLAR (Participation of Local Areas) system, which divides local areas into quintiles, from the lowest participation rates to the highest, then measured the proportion of each university's total intake from each of these quintiles.
Professor David Green, the University's Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: "The University of Worcester was founded just after World War II with the mission to "Win the Peace Through Education". We are deeply committed to offering the opportunity to earn a first class higher education to all who can benefit regardless of background, class, gender, religion, age, sexuality or impairment. This inclusive commitment, which is shared by Governors and colleagues throughout the University, lies at the very heart of the University's approach to education and all our work.
"It explains why we pioneered the Hive, the country's first university and public library which does such a brilliant job in encouraging reading from the earliest age and provides such a magnificent learning facility for community members of all ages.
"Our policy is to open our high quality, highly inclusive facilities such as the University of Worcester Arena to the people, young and old, to use in an organised, purposeful way. This provides many volunteering and paid employment opportunities for our students and helps explain why they are so very successful in finding quality employment on graduation. We will take the same approach to the Art House once it opens this autumn."
Professor Green continued: "We have been so successful because we combine high educational quality with an inclusive approach which treats each student as the individual they are and strives to help each student become the person they want to be. We are deeply dedicated to helping our graduates find employment and our approach has led to Worcester graduates being in the top 10 throughout the whole of the UK for sustained employment.
"We work in partnership with many businesses, schools, colleges, health organisations, public and sporting bodies and charities to provide valuable work-based learning. We help our students earn additional qualifications and valuable skills in areas such as coaching and tutoring. We value our partners highly and work with them on a consistent, long-term and sustainable basis which benefits us all.
"In the last year, independent research has established that Worcester is in the top 10 UK Universities for sustained employment and in the top 10 for class equality. Worcester is the best University in the UK for fair pay for women. Our approach to inclusion has led to the International Paralympic Academy and World Academy of Sport choosing us as the University in the world with which to partner for teacher education.
"The University of Worcester's many successes stem from the commitment of the whole University community to combine high quality education with a truly inclusive approach which puts people first and aims to help our students belong and flourish, whatever their background."
This comes after the University of Worcester was recently revealed as the best performing university in England and the most genuinely equal when it comes to gender pay, according to the latest published data.
From the published gender pay data to date (as of the data available on https://gender-pay-gap.service.gov.uk/ at 11am on Friday, April 6th 2018), Worcester has the smallest average pay gap at 3.16% and is also best for the percentage of women employed at the top, compared to the total number of women employed.
For more information on the HEPI class equality report visit http://www.hepi.ac.uk/2018/04/05/5576/.