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Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to go to Oxbridge' Watch

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    Pupils on free school meals are 55 times less likely to go to Cambridge or Oxford than those from private schools, the Sutton Trust has said.

    The charity said it feared rising fees and the axing of a support programme would make it harder for poor students to get into England's top universities.

    It also raised concerns about proposed measures to widen participation.

    The government said closing the gap was a key priority, which it was tackling with "radical measures".

    The Sutton Trust has the percentages of pupils who qualified for free lunches when they were at school - a measure of deprivation - attending each of England's universities.

    The proportion was 0.8% at both Oxford and Cambridge, while more than 40% of their students came from independent schools.

    And in general, pupils from private schools were 22 times more likely to go to a top university than those who had been on free school meals, the Trust said.

    The Trust said the greatest factor determining how many poorer students go to university is the fact that so few of them get the grades they need - something many top institutions also point out.

    However, the Trust said that some highly selective universities, particularly in urban areas, such as Kings College London (5.3%) and the London School of Economics (4%), had a higher proportion of free school meals students than some less selective institutions, for example Portsmouth (3%), Lincoln (3%) and Oxford Brookes (1.7%) universities.

    The universities with the most students who had been eligible for free school meals were urban, less selective institutions including London South Bank University (24.7%) and the University of East London (23.1%).

    'Little impact'
    From 2012, universities will be able to charge up to £9,000 a year tuition fees.

    These will be paid up-front by the government as a loan, which graduates will then begin to repay once their earnings reach £21,000.

    Ministers have outlined plans under which the government would pay the first year's tuition fees for students eligible for free school meals.

    Universities wanting to charge tuition fees of more than £6,000 a year would then have to fund the student's second year.

    But the Sutton Trust said it was concerned that this would have "little impact on the country's most prestigious universities outside the country's major urban areas", because of the low numbers of the poorest students attending them.

    It also said it feared that if universities were required to provide a contribution for such students, the least well-funded universities would be hit the hardest, as they often take more disadvantaged students.

    Middle-income fears
    The figures also show a significant gap between the most privileged pupils and the rest - many of whom will be children from middle income households, the Sutton Trust said.

    It said that fair access for both low and middle-income students should remain a focus.

    The report also raised concerns about the coalition's decision to scrap AimHigher, a government body which runs programmes to encourage young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education.

    Instead, universities will be expected to fund such activities themselves.

    "Together these reforms amount to a completely new and uncertain landscape for university access for less privileged students."

    The Trust said that sanctions on universities failing to make sufficient progress on access should have "real teeth".

    'Fair and progressive'
    Oxford and Cambridge Universities both cited research showing that of 176 students on free school meals who got three As at A-level in 2007, 45 went to Oxford or Cambridge.

    Oxford said it had one of the most extensive outreach programmes in the country, while Cambridge said it remained committed to engaging with disadvantaged groups.

    The Russell Group of research-intensive universities said it invested millions of pounds in bursaries and other initiatives designed to help the least advantaged students have the best possible chance of winning a place.

    It said the new fee regime was "fair and progressive in protecting low earners" and noted that participation from all socio-economic groups had increased since fees were raised in 2006.

    Scholarship fund
    But the Million+ group representing new universities echoed concerns that institutions with larger numbers of disadvantaged students would be hit by the requirement to fund their second year fees.

    "Universities which currently achieve the most in terms of social mobility... will lose out financially and will have no alternative but to charge higher fees from all students to deliver the match-funding," said its chief executive, Pam Tatlow.

    The Department for Education said narrowing the attainment gap was a "key priority", which it was tackling with "radical measures" including introducing a pupil premium targeted at the children from the poorest backgrounds.

    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said its goal was that no-one should be put off higher education on financial grounds.

    "All graduates will pay back less per month than now and the poorest 25% of graduates will pay back less in total," a spokesperson said.

    A new £150m National Scholarship Programme would tackle the sorts of problems identified by the Sutton Trust, the spokesperson added.
    Source - BBC News


    So is this another example of eliteness in Britains top universities or just another case of statistics being used to encourage uni's to accept less able students?
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    Personally I just think this is a case of statistics being used to argue a point - generally private schoolers get a better level of education and therefore better grades. Top uni's aim to get the top students, therefore the level of private school students would be much higher than less 'prestigious' uni's.
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    Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to go to Oxbridge'

    Reads: Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to be bright enough go to Oxbridge'

    Nothing wrong with taking the best of the best, and totally ignoring social factors.

    Edit: By not bright enough, I mean 'not educated to the required (high) standard', rather than born without natural ability.
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    Yep, the systems ****ed. I agree with not trying to make everyone equal, but rather to give everyone equal opportunities...but it's clear this doesn't happen.
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      I agree. Top universities should aim to get the best students totally independent of financial situation.
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      Is this mere sensationalism or an actual issue? Kids from lower incomes apply to university in less numbers than their middle-class counterparts. I wouldn't be surprised if they applied "55 times less" in fact.
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      logically - and not trying to sound arrogant or big headed or anything - but isn't it likely that richer people ARE richer because they are smarter, and so they've earned more money, and so they pass on their intelligence to their children, who can go to Oxbridge becuase they're smart enough?
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      One in four people on free school meals who achieve AAA go to Oxbridge. I don't know the figure for better off students, but if anything that sounds like a high proportion. The issue that needs to be addressed is the proportion of poor pupils who do well enough in school.
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      Your chances of getting into a Russell Group should not be based on your financial background, it should be based on academic potential, regardless of whether you have been educated privately or publically.
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      (Original post by Mujeriego)
      Is this mere sensationalism or an actual issue? Kids from lower incomes apply to university in less numbers than their middle-class counterparts. I wouldn't be surprised if they applied "55 times less" in fact.
      Yes, I'm sure they probably did apply "55 times less". However, less are applying for a reason. Let's face it, the reason will be that they simply do not have the grades. But then, we have to ask ourselves why THAT is exactly.

      I don't think many would argue that they were just simply less naturally smart. Factors such as;
      -Less stimulation as children
      -Lower standard of teaching at worse schools
      -Less general opportunities, ie cultural trips, extra language classes, work experience, contacts, sporting and extra-cirricular clubs
      -Ok, yes, since intelligence is linked with being hereditary, probably a bit of that.
      -Less aspiration. Oxbridge or Uni at all for that matter is something that they probably only began to think about AFTER GCSEs or even AS levels.
      -Less knowledge of the application, how to prepare a good PS, good interview skills etc.

      I think all of this ^^ is the problem.
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      (Original post by OMGWTFBBQ)
      Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to go to Oxbridge'

      Reads: Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to be bright enough go to Oxbridge'
      You actually hit the nail on the head there. Such students find it difficult to get into Oxbridge, and probably the rest of the Russell Group university's because they haven't got the grades. The reason they haven't got the grades does come down to their financial background most of the time and they will of course be at a disadvantage. A more suitable and less misleading title would be, as OMGWTFBBQ suggested "Poorest pupils '55 times less likely to reach the requirements for Oxbridge".

      Instead of bludgeoning Oxbridge to death over the issue, we need to realise that the problem stems far, far before university and A-Levels. Grammar schools would probably help in some way but more financial support for youngsters is needed right the way through their schooling, be it extra textbooks, laptops etc.
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      It's not the universities' fault for this. They are accepting the best applicants regardless of social origin. It is the education system before this and their own social environment that is causing them not to achieve.
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      (Original post by bobbycrisp)
      logically - and not trying to sound arrogant or big headed or anything - but isn't it likely that richer people ARE richer because they are smarter, and so they've earned more money, and so they pass on their intelligence to their children, who can go to Oxbridge becuase they're smart enough?
      I don't think you can pass IQ on. I may be wrong. Plus IQ doesn't really equal salary, there are plenty of people without any qualifications and couldn't hack it at school that are billionaires.

      What is passed on however is work ethic and ambitions. People from well off familys that have top jobs, their kids automatically want to be as good as their parents. Also these parents are more likely to push their kids because they understand what they need to be successful. Whereas poorer familys (not all) are more likely to be those who don't take education so seriously.

      Plus if you're richer, more chance of private school and that (unfairly) will boost your chances hugely.

      Out of interest does anyone know the stat of how much likely you are to attend oxbridge if you went to a private school?
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      All this does is show that children who claim free school meals largely go to poorer schools.

      Seriously, how many inner city schools are there that are capable of educating students at GCSE to straight A standard?

      It isn't the universities fault, it's the fault of schools in poorer areas who aren't harnessing the potential of bright students.
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      (Original post by Billydodger)
      Yes, I'm sure they probably did apply "55 times less". However, less are applying for a reason. Let's face it, the reason will be that they simply do not have the grades. But then, we have to ask ourselves why THAT is exactly.

      I don't think many would argue that they were just simply less naturally smart. Factors such as;
      -Less stimulation as children
      -Lower standard of teaching at worse schools
      -Less general opportunities, ie cultural trips, extra language classes, work experience, contacts, sporting and extra-cirricular clubs
      -Ok, yes, since intelligence is linked with being hereditary, probably a bit of that.
      -Less aspiration. Oxbridge or Uni at all for that matter is something that they probably only began to think about AFTER GCSEs or even AS levels.
      -Less knowledge of the application, how to prepare a good PS, good interview skills etc.

      I think all of this ^^ is the problem.
      Co-sign. Combine the initial application numbers, the above factors and the fact that a lot of working-class students that could get offers fear isolation at Oxbridge and you will understand why the statistics seem so extreme.


      A little forethought before the affirmative action brigade implodes with indignation.
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      (Original post by Billydodger)
      I don't think many would argue that they were just simply less naturally smart.
      This is TSR where people really are stupid enough to try and argue that point :rolleyes: One person already has in fact but there will be more.

      As for the actual topic I'd agree the problem starts way before unis so putting the emphasis there is pointless.
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      It's really just pointing out how financial circumstances massively lower the chances of academic achievements.
      I think they should have attacked Oxbridge a little less personally - Cambridge does have the CSAS etc.
      As a student on free school meals/hoping to apply to Cambridge personally, I have to say that my own financial circumstances have been a big hindrance to achieving highly in school - my school was very very poor in terms of achievement, was in special measures twice during my time there - I couldn't personally afford textbooks, revision guides etc or even the travel to another better school, so I would definitely say that finance does effect achievement..
      There is always the argument that bright children will do well anywhere, but how can they if their only resource is a teacher that may not be teaching them enough, the right things, and at the correct level?
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      Lower representation of poor students at universities such as Oxbridge comes down to many factors, a lot of which are outside of the control of the universities.
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      I want free school meals.
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      (Original post by Delaney)
      Personally I just think this is a case of statistics being used to argue a point - generally private schoolers get a better level of education and therefore better grades. Top uni's aim to get the top students, therefore the level of private school students would be much higher than less 'prestigious' uni's.
      Of course what makes this argument utter bollox is the fact, as Sutton have also found, that when it comes to degree classification Comprehensive pupils out perform private schoolers and grammar schoolers.
     
     
     
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