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The University of Southampton
Medical Education

A New Approach to Contextual Admissions

Published: 9 March 2018

A new document, entitled Indicators of best practice in contextual admissions, has recently been released by the Medical Schools Council Selection Alliance data monitoring group.

The group is led by Sally Curtis who leads the Faculty’s widening access to medicine (BM6) programme and advises on the development of widening access programmes in universities across the UK.

The document is designed to be helpful to medical schools as they think about their approach to contextual admissions and widening participation to applicants from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine.

Universities in England are required by the Office for Fair Access (and in future by the Office for Students) to set out plans for how they will widen participation and improve social mobility but there are additional challenges and pressures for medical schools. Medicine is a high tariff subject and therefore inequalities in public education impact on it to a greater degree. There also tends to be more government and media scrutiny of medicine in comparison to other subjects.

This new document sets out an approach based on the group’s understanding of what currently works well but acknowledges that more research is needed in this area. The full document can be accessed here.

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