Blair’s Former Advisor, and Southampton Alumnus Condemns Russell Group Universities


Matthew Taylor, the current head of the Royal Society of Art who earned a first-class degree in Sociology from the University of Southampton, has today urged students to “stick two fingers up to the Russell Group and go to a University that is creative and innovative and wants to do things differently.”

Taylor, who was one of Tony Blair’s closest advisers, also stated that the atmospheres of Russell Group universities were somewhat less engaging than that of other Higher Education Institutions, and that the less-prestigious Universities wanted to ‘do things differently’.

Mr Taylor went on to say that employers should ignore school and university qualifications when selecting applicants, saying that students leave University with ‘very big gaps’ in their knowledge, and that ‘the only thing that they [school]help us to do is pass tests and then move onto the next set of tests.’ He also says that the current system has ‘driven out an enormous amount of creativity, risk and innovation’.

With thousands of teenagers collecting their A-level results this week, record numbers of students have applied to the top institutions within the Russell Group, of which the University of Southampton is a part of. Graduates from Russell Group Universities can expect to earn on average between 9% and 16% more than their peers graduating from non-Russell Group institutions.

Mr Taylor’s comments have, therefore, come as a contrast to the increasing popularity of the Russell Group.


Deputy Editor of the Wessex Scene for 2015/16. I often write News, Politics and Opinion pieces. As well as writing for the Scene I can be found in the Surge Radio studio, where I am the Head of News. Also, as I'm new to twitter and desperate, follow me!! @95moliver

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