medical schools council


Progress report published on Selecting for Excellence project for widening participation in medicine


The Medical Schools Council today publishes its end of year report on Selecting for Excellence, an 18-month project on selection to medicine with a focus on widening participation. The project’s membership is drawn from the Office for Fair Access, the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, the General Medical Council, Health Education England, the British Medical Association and others.

Guided by the coordinated efforts of these organisations, Selecting for Excellence is working to address the concerns originally raised in Alan Milburn’s Fair Access to Professional Careersreport and the particular issues highlighted around medicine. The aim of the project is to understand these issues, collect information on and analyse the widening participation approaches in use by UK medical schools and elsewhere, and finally to produce recommendations on best practice and how it can be widely shared.

This report on the project’s first year of activity builds a profile of medical school applicants by pooling data from different sources on factors such as socio-economic background, ethnicity, and gender. It has found that there would be great benefits to rationalising this data in order to produce clearer long-term measures of the medical applicant’s profile than are currently possible.

Equally, information has been gathered on the many different approaches of widening participation already used by UK medical schools and it is concluded that there is now room to build a platform whereby medical schools can more easily become aware of the effectiveness of these methods in different contexts. This will assist them in further refining and developing their own methods.

Professor Tony Weetman, Chair of the Selecting for Excellence Executive Group, said:

‘I’m pleased with the progress we have made to date and I’m committed to building on this over the coming year. Clearly there is a crucial role for Selecting for Excellence in joining up and providing detailed analyses of the widening participation activities used at UK medical schools. We know that it’s important to recognise the fantastic work already being done – just as we know that, with its representation from all of the central organisations in the area, Selecting for Excellence is well placed to advise on how things can be improved.

‘We have already established discussion groups of admissions deans, careers advisors, those involved in postgraduate medical education and training, and we have plans for surveys of teachers’ and the public’s views. With this help we know both the significant scope of the work yet to be done and that we are moving in the right direction. As I say in the report’s foreword, this is about both social mobility and ensuring the continued quality of the medical profession. Together we are committed to reaching this goal.’

The Selecting for Excellence End of Year Report can be accessed here.

To learn more about the Selecting for Excellence project, click here.


Notes to Editors

1. The Selecting for Excellence project was launched in July 2013 and is administered by the Medical Schools Council secretariat. The full membership of the Selecting for Excellence executive group and further details about the project can be found on the Medical Schools Council website.

2. The Medical Schools Council represents the interests and ambitions of UK medical schools as they relate to the generation of national health, wealth and knowledge through biomedical research and the profession of medicine. For further information about the work of the Medical Schools Council please see

3. For further information please contact Edward Knight, Communications and Websites Officer, Medical Schools Council, on 020 7419 5427 or at For general queries about the Medical Schools Council, email


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