Russell Group universities scrap list of 'facilitating subjects'

Instead, the group's new website suggests which A-level subjects will be relevant to specific degrees

Adi Bloom


The Russell Group of universities has dropped its list of “facilitating subjects” – a list of A-level subjects that might help pupils secure a place at a top university.

This list, which included maths, English, history, geography and the sciences, was intended to help pupils choose A levels considered essential by many of the country’s most selective universities.

But the Russell Group will no longer be publishing this list of subjects. Instead, its new website suggests A-level subjects relevant to specific degrees.

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The Russell Group website states: “We have sometimes heard other people suggest that facilitating subjects are the only subjects pupils should consider to get into a Russell Group university, or that you must take them for any degree. This has never been the case.”

The Russell Group comprises 24 of Britain’s most selective universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, Manchester, Bristol, Exeter and Edinburgh.

Its new website, Informed Choices, provides an interactive tool to allow pupils to see the subjects recommended for specific degrees. They can also enter combinations of A-level subjects, to see which degrees they might lead to.

Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, said: “Despite being hugely important for getting into university, subject choice is often overlooked. We want all pupils and their parents to have clear information at their fingertips.”

Campaigners are using the Russell Group’s decision as an argument for the abolition of the EBacc, which they claim is based on the list of facilitating subjects.

Deborah Annetts, founder of the Bacc for the Future campaign against the EBacc, said that the facilitating subjects had had “a devastating effect on the uptake of creative subjects at A level”.

She added: “We urge the government to look again at their EBacc policy, which is already failing on its own terms, and has no place in a 21st-century education.”

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