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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.

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    "The prospects for less privileged students getting into top universities will get more difficult with the almost tripling of tuition fees, and the ending of the Aimhigher scheme”

    Peter Lampl,
    Chairman, Sutton Trust
    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.

    "The prospects for less privileged students getting into top universities will get more difficult with the almost tripling of tuition fees, and the ending of the Aimhigher scheme," said Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust.

    "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.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12048629
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    Unfortunately, it's down to their socialisation and not their academic ability.

    An Eton kid with A*A*A A and A*A*A*A*A*A*A*A*A* at GCSE is more likely to go to Oxbridge than a state-school kid with the same grades because the Eton kids are taught specifically how to get in. The staff at Eton will know the ins and outs of the Oxbridge application process, they'll teach the kids how to write a perfect PS, how to ace the interview, etc.

    The Eton kid will be middle/upper-class, both his parents will have gone to university, one of them to Oxbridge, probably. They'll be brought up to prize academic achievement, their parents will take an interest in their education (at Eton prices, what parent wouldn't?!). A kid on free school meals will probably not get this at home. Cultural capital and all that. Kids from a higher socio-economic class are much more likely to get into Oxbridge because it's set up for them.

    Unfortunately, Oxbridge can't really enforce positive discrimination in a fair way. There is no fair way. Why should a kid from Eton not get a place over a kid on FSM just because they're rich?

    Oxbridge admissions don't need changing, social attitudes need changing. Schools need to be better with university admissions, and the top students who come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds should receive a lot more help with Oxbridge admissions.
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    post above is spot on

    The Gap Between Two High Achieving Children widens dramatically after 12. The Child from a comfortable background continues to exceed whilst the high achieving child from working class background becomes average or even under achieving
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    (Original post by ilickbatteries)
    Unfortunately, it's down to their socialisation and not their academic ability.

    An Eton kid with A*A*A A and A*A*A*A*A*A*A*A*A* at GCSE is more likely to go to Oxbridge than a state-school kid with the same grades because the Eton kids are taught specifically how to get in. The staff at Eton will know the ins and outs of the Oxbridge application process, they'll teach the kids how to write a perfect PS, how to ace the interview, etc.

    The Eton kid will be middle/upper-class, both his parents will have gone to university, one of them to Oxbridge, probably. They'll be brought up to prize academic achievement, their parents will take an interest in their education (at Eton prices, what parent wouldn't?!). A kid on free school meals will probably not get this at home. Cultural capital and all that. Kids from a higher socio-economic class are much more likely to get into Oxbridge because it's set up for them.

    Unfortunately, Oxbridge can't really enforce positive discrimination in a fair way. There is no fair way. Why should a kid from Eton not get a place over a kid on FSM just because they're rich?

    Oxbridge admissions don't need changing, social attitudes need changing. Schools need to be better with university admissions, and the top students who come from low-socioeconomic backgrounds should receive a lot more help with Oxbridge admissions.
    When a blade of grass rises above the others, do we applaud it? No, we cut it down.
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I'm from a dirt poor background, like poverty I bet you didn't even know existed in this country. I don't want to seem conceited but academically I'm "brilliant", my reference is very strong (to be envied strong) and people use words like 'spectacular', 'brilliant' and 'amazing' to describe my PS. I'm also 5hit hot at what I do, in my field (architecture) I have done things that have never been done before in terms of a design concept. I'm also very confident and I'm sure I would perform well at an interview. I want to apply to Cambridge...
    Students from very low income backgrounds are not discriminated against, don't worry
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    (Original post by ilickbatteries)
    Students from very low income backgrounds are not discriminated against, don't worry
    Are you sure... So what was the point of the OP's post?
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    Are you sure... So what was the point of the OP's post?
    The Sutton Trust isn't suggesting universities discriminate but that there are a series of barriers that prevent poor students going to the best universities. The Sutton Trust aims to research and combat those barriers.

    However, whilst the Sutton Trust is seen as a "motherhood and apple pie" organisation i.e a self-evidently good thing, some of it figures are highly questionable.

    For example, the statistics on free school meals are not solely related to simple poverty.

    The Sutton Trust doesn't male clear at one point in a school career someone is getting free school meals. Is it during VIth form, at age 16 or when the child is 5. This is important because a higher proportion of younger children get free school meals.

    There is a strong correlation of free school meals with special educational needs.
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I'm from a dirt poor background, like poverty I bet you didn't even know existed in this country. I don't want to seem conceited but academically I'm "brilliant", my reference is very strong (to be envied strong) and people use words like 'spectacular', 'brilliant' and 'amazing' to describe my PS. I'm also 5hit hot at what I do, in my field (architecture) I have done things that have never been done before in terms of a design concept. I'm also very confident and I'm sure I would perform well at an interview. I want to apply to Cambridge...
    lol at ur modesty King Panther- found this old thread cos I'm very interested in the class divide in this country as well not being from a very well off family myself. u should know by now ur statement only gets u through to the next stage and barely matters 4 the best unis. U can't know ur 5hit hot yet! Make sure ur not overconfident in ur interviews next year as u will come unstuck against people with 20-30 years experience in architecture- thats very dangerous- especially at cambridge where they hate people like that! How come ur considering the AA? its the most expensive, class based uni of them all!!! There will be loads of overprivelaged tossers there :P
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    (Original post by spurswilts)
    lol at ur modesty King Panther- found this old thread cos I'm very interested in the class divide in this country as well not being from a very well off family myself. u should know by now ur statement only gets u through to the next stage and barely matters 4 the best unis. U can't know ur 5hit hot yet! Make sure ur not overconfident in ur interviews next year as u will come unstuck against people with 20-30 years experience in architecture- thats very dangerous- especially at cambridge where they hate people like that! How come ur considering the AA? its the most expensive, class based uni of them all!!! There will be loads of overprivelaged tossers there :P
    Lol, sh!t! Well, thats not a very modest statement, my apologies. Well, it is a good personal statement and it should get me an interview... I assume I'm going to be disadvantaged because of my background.. Hence why I'm bigging myself up (compensation). Well, I calculated/deviced (which ever word is more appropriate) a way to design something that couldn't be done as it had never been done before and you had to be exceptional in order to do so (my lecturers words, not mine), so that was an outstanding accomplishment, I feel. I am very confident :cool:, but I don't know about overly, even though my previous statement may portray that. The AA?? I may be poor now, I don't want things to stay that way.. By the way I didn't neg rep you... I will pos rep you after this post, compare the times..
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I'm from a dirt poor background, like poverty I bet you didn't even know existed in this country. I don't want to seem conceited but academically I'm "brilliant", my reference is very strong (to be envied strong) and people use words like 'spectacular', 'brilliant' and 'amazing' to describe my PS. I'm also 5hit hot at what I do, in my field (architecture) I have done things that have never been done before in terms of a design concept. I'm also very confident and I'm sure I would perform well at an interview. I want to apply to Cambridge...
    wtf (to the neg rep). Haters gonna hate. I'll get negged too Do make sure you don't slip into false confidence - keep checking in with yourself and don't be unwilling to be wrong - but man, there's nothing wrong with being proud of how you've made it so far and feeling like a meteor into the future. GO FOR IT.
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    (Original post by chai wallah)
    wtf (to the neg rep). Haters gonna hate. I'll get negged too Do make sure you don't slip into false confidence - keep checking in with yourself and don't be unwilling to be wrong - but man, there's nothing wrong with being proud of how you've made it so far and feeling like a meteor into the future. GO FOR IT.
    Yes, because it's so surprising if people find boastful posts annoying...:erm:
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    (Original post by GiddensFTW)
    I found this quite interesting - wondering what your views are...
    I was a FSM student up until going to the local FE college and got rejected from Oxford pre-interview despite having AAA predictions, decent PS+ Reference and good admission tests score, so I can see this makes sense.


    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12048629
    Oh, boy. You're still forging on though? Got my fingers crossed for you!

    I've been listening to Kath(e/a)rine Birbalsingh's book 'To Miss, with love' on the radio and it's filling me in on how and why at least one part of the system is so f*cked (cycles of underprivilege). I'm always glued to the education sections of the papers and my mum's free teaching magazines - I can't help trying to work out how everything could ever work. Michael Young's satire 'The Rise of the Meritocracy' really knits my brow too. It's such, such a thorny subject.

    PS Username ftw! And I recommend you the Young in that (sociological!) case, if you've got a spare moment - funny in a dystopian way. Add his Guardian article for context: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/29/comment

    in fact, this quote from the article is alarmingly relevant:
    Ability of a conventional kind, which used to be distributed between the classes more or less at random, has become much more highly concentrated by the engine of education.
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Yes, because it's so surprising if people find boastful posts annoying...:erm:
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    (Original post by chai wallah)
    wtf (to the neg rep). Haters gonna hate. I'll get negged too Do make sure you don't slip into false confidence - keep checking in with yourself and don't be unwilling to be wrong - but man, there's nothing wrong with being proud of how you've made it so far and feeling like a meteor into the future. GO FOR IT.
    I think that my confidence is justified, still doesn't guarantee me a place but one can only try.
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I think that my confidence is justified, still doesn't guarantee me a place but one can only try.
    Never forget that being a big fish in a small pond now is nothing compared to the ocean of Oxbridge waiting to potentially let you down.
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    (Original post by comrade_jon)
    Never forget that being a big fish in a small pond now is nothing compared to the ocean of Oxbridge waiting to potentially let you down.
    I think this deserves the 'most bizarre mixed metaphor of the month award'.
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I think that my confidence is justified, still doesn't guarantee me a place but one can only try.
    Generally it doesn't pay to be so sure in yourself when it comes to Oxbridge. No one can know for certain that they will have a good interview. Plus I saw you want to go for architecture, which is one of the most oversubscribed courses at Cambridge. If I were you I'd be more cautious in being so sure in yourself, it'll only lead to you being too confident and then you might end up under-preparing for your interview. I had people telling me I would easily get it, and I had a pretty amazing reference too, but even then I wasn't confident at all, I prepared loads and it paid off.
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    Only 55?
    I'm very surprised to be fair!
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    (Original post by King-Panther)
    I'm from a dirt poor background, like poverty I bet you didn't even know existed in this country. I don't want to seem conceited but academically I'm "brilliant", my reference is very strong (to be envied strong) and people use words like 'spectacular', 'brilliant' and 'amazing' to describe my PS. I'm also 5hit hot at what I do, in my field (architecture) I have done things that have never been done before in terms of a design concept. I'm also very confident and I'm sure I would perform well at an interview. I want to apply to Cambridge...
    You'll be an awful architect if you're this conceited in your crits.
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    So hold on. Kids with lesser academic achievement are less likely to go to better universities, what exactly is your point? Yes, if you are rich you are more likely to get better grades. But so what, do you expect the best universities to accept less qualified students just because they're poor?

    This topic has already been discussed on TSR.
 
 
 
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