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Royal Holloway partners with Breaking Down Barriers Commission

Royal Holloway partners with Breaking Down Barriers Commission

  • Date20 May 2024

Royal Holloway, University of London is the latest university to join the Breaking Down Barriers Commission and the Purpose Coalition to promote positive social impact solutions and drive an equality of opportunity agenda.


Royal Holloway has been defined throughout its history by its commitment to equity in education and, as a future-facing University of Social Purpose, it is always striving for a more inclusive society for future generations.

The Breaking Down Barriers Commission was established to shape the role that businesses, universities and other organisations which are committed to breaking down barriers to opportunity for their customers, colleagues and communities can play in society. It is led by Nick Forbes CBE, former member of Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet.

The Commission is part of the wider Purpose Coalition, set up by the former Education Secretary, Rt Hon Justine Greening, for purpose-led organisations to monitor and improve their social impact and share best practice against a framework of 15 Purpose Goals which identify the key barriers to opportunity.

Universities and colleges across the country are an important part of the Breaking Down Barriers Commission and the Purpose Coalition. The chance to go to university can be transformational for an individual but as anchor institutions they can also drive economic growth in their local areas, equipping graduates with the skills that employers need and using their world-class research capabilities to contribute to innovative development.

Welcoming Royal Holloway to the Purpose Coalition and the Breaking Down Barriers Commission, Rt Hon Justine Greening said: “Higher education plays a crucial part in delivering equality of opportunity across the country and I am delighted to be working in partnership with Royal Holloway to develop insights and strategies to drive change for the better, at a time when universities are facing challenges on many fronts.

“This is a crucial year for the higher education sector as we head towards a general election. It needs to continue to break down barriers to opportunity through widening participation, student support and encouraging entrepreneurship. The Breaking Down Barriers Commission will be working with its members, including Royal Holloway, to find common ground on tackling inequality and to set a new standard for how organisations can contribute to a more inclusive society. Collaboration can help transform the role of universities, alongside businesses and other organisations, into catalysts for sustained societal change.”

Professor Julie Sanders, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “As a University of Social Purpose, I am delighted that Royal Holloway is joining the Purpose Coalition and the Breaking Down Barriers Commission.

“The higher education landscape in the UK is undergoing an era of unprecedented transformation as universities navigate the need to preserve tradition, while also illuminating the path towards an inclusive and innovative future.

“We are committed to addressing the unique needs of our increasingly diverse student community, supporting them through their academic journey and creating opportunities for meaningful social mobility.”

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