Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 29(3) pp 567-570
If there was ever a book that could be described as `timely’ then Alex Singleton’s Educational Opportunity: The Geography of Access to Higher Education would be one of them. With UK higher education (HE) under the political and public spotlights due to spending cuts and the introduction of higher variable fees in HE institutions in England, extending access and widening participation have become key and controversial issues amongst politicians, university managers, and school leavers. Although most universities have existing programmes for widening participation amongst more disadvantaged groups of school leavers, most of these initiatives are often unsystematic in the ways in which they target schools and colleges. There are multiple social, spatial, and temporal processes that shape access to HE and these are rarely acknowledged, let alone fully understood, in most strategies aimed at devising better ways of reaching potential but underrepresented students, particularly in the UK’s elite Russell Group universities. In this book Singleton begins to address some of these issues in the context of a rapidly changing HE policy-setting arena and presents a systematic framework for widening participation and extending access using a variety of educational data sources, analytical tools, and profiling techniques.