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Contextual data used for undergraduate admissions

Information about the contextual data that we use as part of our admissions process during the 2024 UCAS cycle.


Procedure


Free School Meals (FSM) Eligibility

We use data on your eligibility for free school meals (FSM) during your time in secondary education. The data we use is provided by UCAS, who verify your eligibility against the National Pupil Databases for England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The exact eligibility recorded in the National Pupil Databases varies by depending on nation:

  • England – you were recorded as eligible for FSM at any point in the 6 years before the school census day in Year 11.
  • Northern Ireland – you were recorded as eligible for FSM at any point in the 6 years before the school census date in Year 12.
  • Wales – you were recorded as eligible for FSM at any point between the school census date in Year 11 and the January 5 years before.

Please note that these sources do not include FSM eligibility recorded in Year 12 (excl. Northern Ireland) or above.

You will be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria if UCAS have verified you were eligible for free school meals in any one of these three data sources.

We are unable to use self-declared information you may provide in your UCAS application, unless this is also backed up by the other data we receive.

Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)

Indices of multiple deprivation (IMD) is a measure of relative deprivation for small, fixed geographic areas of the UK. IMD classifies these areas into five quintiles based on relative disadvantage, with quintile 1 being the most deprived and quintile 5 being the least deprived.

IMD data is freely available from relevant government resources (aside from post-codes in Northern Ireland, for which data is unfortunately not freely available). We use the most recently available dataset for each of the four nations in the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). This information is matched to your application by UCAS using the home postcode listed on your application.

You will be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria if the home postcode listed on your UCAS application when you apply falls into IMD quintile 1 or 2 and IF you attended an independent school*, this was for no more than two academic years in your last four years of school or college.

*“Independent school” will be any UK-based school classified as Independent by UCAS. Any schooling outside the UK is excluded when calculating this.

Look-up which IMD quintile your home postcode falls into (England only).

Time in care status

When you complete your UCAS application there is a section for you to self-declare if you have spent time in Local Authority care, either with foster carers or in a children’s home (or in Scotland under a home supervision order).

We would strongly recommend doing this if it applies to you, regardless of when or how long you were in care for. This means that you will receive relevant information about support from all the universities that you apply to.

You will be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria if you declare something in this section of your UCAS application.

The University has pledged to make guaranteed offers to Care Leavers who meet our criteria and terms and conditions. Please visit our Care Leavers webpage for more information, plus our eligibility criteria for funding.

Young carers or estranged students

When you complete your UCAS application, there is a section for you to self-declare if you identify as being a young carer or an estranged student. We would strongly recommend doing this if it applies to you, as this means that you also will receive relevant information about support from all the universities that you apply to.

If you indicate you are a young carer or estranged student, you will then be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria, subject to other criteria being met.

For further information about support and our eligibility criteria for funding, please refer to our young carer and estranged student webpages.

If you are applying before 1 September 2023, we are unable to use these self-declared questions directly from your UCAS application. If you identify as being in either of these groups, we instead ask you to send an email to ugadmissions-care@bath.ac.uk with a short paragraph of no more than 200 words to give us an overview of your circumstances.

Refugee, Asylum Seeker, Humanitarian Protection status

You will be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria if we confirm you are a refugee, asylum seeker, have been granted humanitarian protection or a similar status.

We verify this as part of assessing your fee status (either before or after you receive an offer). You will generally be asked to provide a copy of the relevant immigration permission to confirm your status.

For these criteria, we include anyone recognised by the UK Government as registered asylum seeker or who qualifies for Home fees under a ‘humanitarian’ category:

  • Asylum seeker
  • Refugee
  • Granted Humanitarian Protection
  • Ukraine Scheme leave
  • Stateless leave
  • Calais leave
  • Section 67 leave
  • ILR as a bereaved partner
  • ILR as a victim of domestic violence
  • Evacuated from Afghanistan

You will also meet our contextual criteria if your parent or legal guardian meets one of the above, even if you do not. On a case-by-case basis, we may flag you as meeting our contextual criteria if you have been granted exceptional leave outside the immigration rules as a result of an application made under one of the recognised routes. You will not meet our contextual criteria if you have been granted leave through the British National (Overseas) (BNO) scheme.

School performance at Level 2

We look at data attached to the school that you have listed as attending when you sat your GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) to see if it is below the national average. We look at the data for the latest year of examinations that is available, which is the 2019 examinations for the 2024 UCAS cycle.

If you have attended numerous schools, we will look at data for all those you may have attended up until taking your GCSE or equivalent qualifications. Some school performance data is provided by UCAS, but other data is collected directly from the relevant national government department.

Your application will not be flagged using this data, however, it may help to further contextualise your academic performance.

School performance at Level 3

We look at data attached to the school or college that you have listed as attending when you sit your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) to see if it is below the national average. We look at the data for the latest year of examinations that is available, which is the 2019 examinations for the 2024 UCAS cycle.

If you have attended numerous schools/colleges, we will look at data for all those you may have attended while taking your A level or equivalent qualifications. Some school performance data is provided by UCAS, but other data is collected directly from the relevant national government department.

Your application will not be flagged using this data, however, it may help to further contextualise your academic performance.

Disability status

When you complete your UCAS application there is a section for you to declare if you have a disability, additional learning need or long-term/mental health condition.

We would strongly recommend doing this if it applies to you, as it will make sure that you receive relevant information about support from the universities that you apply to.

Your application will not be flagged using this data, however, it may help to further contextualise your academic performance and make sure we are showing your application sufficient flexibility.

POLAR - used before 1 September 2023

We have used POLAR data as part of our contextual criteria for applications submitted before 1 September 2023. POLAR data will not be used as part of our criteria in future years.

The participation of local areas (POLAR) classification groups areas across the UK based on the proportion of the young population that participate in higher education (HE). It looks at how likely young people are to participate in HE across the UK and shows how this varies by area.

POLAR classifies local areas into five quintiles based on the proportion of 18-year-olds who enter HE aged 18 or 19. Quintile 1 is the fifth of areas with the lowest proportion of progression to HE. We are using the latest version of this data, Polar 4, which we receive directly from UCAS.

You will be flagged as meeting our contextual criteria if the home postcode listed on your UCAS application when you apply falls into quintile 1 or 2. If your postcode falls into quintile 3, you will only be flagged as a widening participation priority if your postcode also falls into IMD quintile 3.

Look up which POLAR 4 quintile your home postcode falls into

Enquiries

If you have any questions, please contact us.


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