Unfair bias against private schools Watch

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tomcoolinguk
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#101
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#101
(Original post by Yannis)
If I achieve 100% in a maths test for 2 year olds and someone, who's 9 also gets 100%, does that mean that he is more gifted and has more potential than me? Here your theory crumbles. If someone gets perfect marks one cannot ever accuse him/her for being less gifted than anyone else as he did not fail on anything. If on the other hand someone from a comprehensive did slightly better, then there most definitely is a case to argue. As long as the results are identical, as you suggested, your argument's syntax is flawed.
And as you will notice it is for this reason you idiot that I used the word probably in my examples. Your arugment is also falliable. One would assume that if two people take a test, and they both get 100% but one is 20 and the other is 3, that the 3 year old has far superior natural intelligence.
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MadNatSci
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If someone's on a scholarship to a private school why should you assume that the 10A*s are just because of the teaching and they're not as gifted as someone who went to a comp and got 10A*s? And also, there are some damned good comps. There's too much black-and-white when it comes to discussions like this.

Nobody would deny that it takes a lot of dedication and natural talent to get good grades at a failing, inner city comprehensive. But it's deeply unfair to suggest that a private school kid with the same grades is therefore automatically thicker or less dedicated. Private schools very often set limits on the number of exams you can take, so let's not have any more of the suggestions of 'achieve higher, do more' (I've had this argument far too many times). At the end of the day no child has control over where their parents send them, so NO child should feel persecuted for their educational background - whether private, grammar, a good comprehensive or an inner city, failing school.

(Original post by tomcoolinguk)
One would assume that if two people take a test, and they both get 100% but one is 20 and the other is 3, that the 3 year old has far superior natural intelligence.
How the hell can you assume that without knowledge of what the test involved?!! It could have been "name these colours" or "fit these shapes into the right holes" and the 20 year old could be an utter genius - the test would not be a good way of distinguishing between abilities, therefore.

Which, when you think about it, applies to GCSEs and A levels too.

(Original post by Helenia)
Well, you're a girl, and therefore less likely to be attractive to some people... *must not say any more or else I'm probably committing libel or something *
I have nothing to say to this but
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BazTheMoney
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(Original post by MadNatSci)
If someone's on a scholarship to a private school why should you assume that the 10A*s are just because of the teaching and they're not as gifted as someone who went to a comp and got 10A*s? And also, there are some damned good comps. There's too much black-and-white when it comes to discussions like this.
That's frustrates me, everyone seems to believe all private schools are like Eton and all state schools are like inner city, crime infested comprehensives; in reality some comprehensives are very good, and quite a few private school are quite average.
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tomcoolinguk
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(Original post by MadNatSci)
If someone's on a scholarship to a private school why should you assume that the 10A*s are just because of the teaching and they're not as gifted as someone who went to a comp and got 10A*s? And also, there are some damned good comps. There's too much black-and-white when it comes to discussions like this.
I'm not being black and white. Your point is valid but has been addressed throughout this thread. You fail to neglect the very obvious point that if one person achieves A with disadvantages X and Y and another person achieves A without those disadvantages, the first appears to be better. This is why the interview at Cambridge is so important, as without it admissions decisions would have to be made as such. TBH I don't see why someone being on a scholarship to a private school makes a squat of difference, beyond the fact that most universities look highly favourably on such applicants' (at Westminster for example I was told that in the past 10 years over 95% of Queens' scholars have gone on to Oxbridge), because they know how competitive some of these scholarship awards are.

I wonder if you actually read my post at all MadNatSci, as I actually detailed I how most Oxbridge colleges use average achievement at GCSE and A Level of an applicants' school to compare their relative achievements- this would make sure good comprehensives were acknowledged!

(Original post by MadNatSci)
Nobody would deny that it takes a lot of dedication and natural talent to get good grades at a failing, inner city comprehensive. But it's deeply unfair to suggest that a private school kid with the same grades is therefore automatically thicker or less dedicated.
Here you seem to be contradicting your aforementioned argument. I ask you though is it fair to assume they have had to apply themselves more? That they have had to slog against appalling teaching, in an environment more often than not where studying hard was something to be derided for? I made no such assumption. What I merely argued was that IMO and IME people from state schools with 10a* have a lot more about them than private school pupils with 10a*.

(Original post by MadNatSci)
Private schools very often set limits on the number of exams you can take, so let's not have any more of the suggestions of 'achieve higher, do more' (I've had this argument far too many times). At the end of the day no child has control over where their parents send them, so NO child should feel persecuted for their educational background - whether private, grammar, a good comprehensive or an inner city, failing school.
No child should feel persecuted for their educational background, but people from private schools seem to want to have their cake and eat it. As someone has mentioned previously on this thread, if people accept the many advantages of private education you have to accept the drawback that your achievements are set against a context of better facilities and preparation.

(Original post by MadNatSci)
How the hell can you assume that without knowledge of what the test involved?!! It could have been "name these colours" or "fit these shapes into the right holes" and the 20 year old could be an utter genius - the test would not be a good way of distinguishing between abilities, therefore

Which, when you think about it, applies to GCSEs and A levels too.
.
The example I gave was non-descript, you pedantic fool. But let's assume it was a spatial reasoning test, as you suggest. The assertion I gave would STILL STAND!!!!!

When you think about, it, actually, just for two seconds it doesn't apply to GCSEs and A Levels. They are developed upon common criteria from the QCA nimwit.
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aliel
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
That's frustrates me, everyone seems to believe all private schools are like Eton and all state schools are like inner city, crime infested comprehensives; in reality some comprehensives are very good, and quite a few private school are quite average.
..And many "comprehensives" aren't called "comprehensives" anymore
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tomcoolinguk
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
That's frustrates me, everyone seems to believe all private schools are like Eton and all state schools are like inner city, crime infested comprehensives; in reality some comprehensives are very good, and quite a few private school are quite average.
The only thing I would say to this- whilst agreeing completely- is that very often private schools seem to assimilate themselves into their own niche within in an area. So, say, I live in Loughborough where there are in the vicinity several private schools. Loughbourgh Grammar School and Loughbourgh High School (boys and girls respectively) are very academic and both send 10-15 people to Oxbridge p.a., then there is Ratcliffe College and OLC (girls only) which are much less academic. OLC is a Catholic School and seen as a reject bin for the High School, and Ratcliffe is where all the people with thick kids who want private education (oh and I'm in a ranting mood so I'm just going to say it- for the snobbery {balls to all the 'better person' stuff- that is the sign of a lame parent; expecting a school to fulfil their role}). OLC and Ratcliffe get quite bad results, and OLC has been forced by the ISC to stop only entering some students for 5 subjects (so it can boast 100 a*-c).
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BazTheMoney
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(Original post by aliel)
..And many "comprehensives" aren't called "comprehensives" anymore
What are they called, then?
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BazTheMoney
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(Original post by tomcoolinguk)
The only thing I would say to this- whilst agreeing completely- is that very often private schools seem to assimilate themselves into their own niche within in an area. So, say, I live in Loughborough where there are in the vicinity several private schools. Loughbourgh Grammar School and Loughbourgh High School (boys and girls respectively) are very academic and both send 10-15 people to Oxbridge p.a., then there is Ratcliffe College and OLC (girls only) which are much less academic. OLC is a Catholic School and seen as a reject bin for the High School, and Ratcliffe is where all the people with thick kids who want private education (oh and I'm in a ranting mood so I'm just going to say it- for the snobbery {balls to all the 'better person' stuff- that is the sign of a lame parent; expecting a school to fulfil their role}). OLC and Ratcliffe get quite bad results, and OLC has been forced by the ISC to stop only entering some students for 5 subjects (so it can boast 100 a*-c).
It's a well known fact that some parents send their children to private schools for egotistical reasons; and it's been equally well report that certain school fiddle their exam entries by refusing to enter candidates if their isn't a strong chance that they will get at least a C. Morally it isn't right, but that's life.

A lot of schools try to manipulate exam results, albeit to a far lesser degree; for instance a school which I did work experience at for a term sent round lists of students who were on the C/D GCSE borderline and the teachers would be "ordered" to concentrate on getting these people into the A*-C bracket. And I was told this or something similar was common practice in many schools.
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The Duck
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This is a scary thread to jump into, but I really want an answer - are A's at A-level really that easy to get? Is having the superior teachers and resources, as provided by the private schools, enough to get someone the straight A's needed to apply (never mind be accepted in) to Oxbridge?
I would say it is a fact that, in Scotland, the Advanced Highers depend upon your ability to work alone. The teachers could be crap and the textbooks falling to pieces and the library filled with pregnant 14yr-olds discussing contraception, but the exams could be passed anyway. If you put in the effort at home you could get the A grade. Maybe at a private school you can get better GCSE's (or SG's), but does that really matter?
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fishpaste
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(Original post by The Duck)
This is a scary thread to jump into, but I really want an answer - are A's at A-level really that easy to get? Is having the superior teachers and resources, as provided by the private schools, enough to get someone the straight A's needed to apply (never mind be accepted in) to Oxbridge?
In maths/economics/physics, it's all about the teaching for me.
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earthmother
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(Original post by Toni Mag)
Thanks to you all for the response and encouragement everyone. In no particular order:
(i) I applied for History, but I'd rather not say which college as it might identify the admissions tutor (who was very helpful / supportive afterwards). It was an older college.
(ii) The fact that there is a quota for private schools does NOT mean that there is one for state schools: the quota for private schools is a certain maximum. There is no max for state schools, only a min that corresponds to the complement of the private school max.
(iii) The school received a report afterwards which made absolutely no reference to any quota, I have to say, but didn't fault my application in any respect. Consequently, the school contacted the college and that's what led (eventually) to the talk with the tutor. The implication was that the college (rather than the university) had an imposed or self-imposed max for private school applicants, and had (slightly) exceeded that limit in the previous years. I am firmly of the opinion that colleges make adjustments over a three-year rolling average (if you see what I mean) so that their figures don't exceed a quota.
(iv) Taking my experience into account, I would advocate a blind points system for each subject for each university. I believe they have something like it in the south of Ireland. It would mean going to a general, broad, bacc-style exam - 6 subjects say - so awarding points out of 600. The market would then determine the threshold for each subject for each university, based on the UCAS applications. Law at Oxbridge might be 570; Law at Nottingham might be 500; etc.
(v) I am not in favour of 'positive' discrimination; as someone from an upper working class background, and female, I can do without being patronised; I'll get there on my own bat or not at all.
(vi) My school reported the matter to the TES - against my wishes - but they weren't interested.
(vii) I'm looking forward to getting into Oxbridge because I believe (honestly) that admissions aside, if one can do the business there, they do NOT care about gender / race / creed / background. ROLL ON NEXT YEAR!

Love

toni

The Irish system is not flawless. Too many people get into courses purely on examination results and the drop-out rate is relatively high. A move away from a pure points system is being considered as the universities would like to be able to interview or at least read some sort of personal statement/school reference.

I wish you well with your re-application but for your own sake put it all behind you if you aren't successful this time.

I don't want to get into the whole public/private school debate as it's not part of my experience. Mind you, there aren't many who just happen to bump into an admissions tutor whilst working in a hospital (was this in France?).

As a parent I have experience of one child getting into Oxford. She was turned down by her first college but taken by her second. Another is applying for Cambridge this year. Her results to date are as impressive as yours but there's every chance she won't make it even though I'm sure she'd do very well there. If the worst thing that happens to any child of mine is that they don't make it to Oxbridge then I'll consider myself very blessed.

I'm convinced there's a large element of luck in the Oxbridge application process. When mine embarked on the process we were complete novices and the school had little experience either although they were very supportive.

I notice that you weren't successful with your application to other universities. Perhaps you need to look at your Personal Statement and see if it needs changing. Just a thought.

Whatever way things turn out, I wish you well.
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Meerkat
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(Original post by BazTheMoney)
What are they called, then?
i think they're now called academies. can't be too sure though.
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#113
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(Original post by Louise_1988)
But what he is saying is that if you both score 100% it is impossible to say who is more clever. This is why it is flawed to say someone with 10A*s from a crap school must be brighter than 10 A*s from a good school. the most you can get is 100% so you just cannot say one is more bright than the other.
If someone who gets 10A*s from a good school was capable of getting 10A*s from a crap school they should've gone to the crap school and saved their parents a six-figure sum , as well as the impressiveness of their result being devalued eg for uni admissions if tutors take into account their school.

It's natural to assume person A with AAA from a crap school is better than person B with AAA from a good school. In fact I'd say someone who gets ABB and tops the year at an awful comp is a) more intelligent, b) put in a lot more effort, and c) is more likely to do well at university than moststraight-A students from top schools. Favouring students from the worst schools by accepting them with slightly lower grades does not mean discriminating against private schools; it means more fairly basing offers on one's potential at university.
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aliel
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#114
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(Original post by Jools)
If someone who gets 10A*s from a good school was capable of getting 10A*s from a crap school they should've gone to the crap school and saved their parents a six-figure sum , as well as the impressiveness of their result being devalued eg for uni admissions if tutors take into account their school.

It's natural to assume person A with AAA from a crap school is better than person B with AAA from a good school. In fact I'd say someone who gets ABB and tops the year at an awful comp is a) more intelligent, b) put in a lot more effort, and c) is more likely to do well at university than moststraight-A students from top schools. Favouring students from the worst schools by accepting them with slightly lower grades does not mean discriminating against private schools; it means more fairly basing offers on one's potential at university.
Yep, read of an analysis that Bristol Uni did of one year's intake. According to them state-educated students with ABB did equivalently in their finals to that of a privately-educated student who attained AAA at Alevel.
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InterCity125
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(Original post by Meerkat)
i think they're now called academies. can't be too sure though.
Only some. Some of the best state schools in the Uk are 'comps'.
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Brown Patrick Bateman
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#116
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(Original post by aliel)
Yep, read of an analysis that Bristol Uni did of one year's intake. According to them state-educated students with ABB did equivalently in their finals to that of a privately-educated student who attained AAA at Alevel.
Bristol's policy has caused outrage but I think it's perfectly fair. At the end of the day the university should be primarily interested in who's going to do best at university. And that typically means choosing the ABB school-from-hell kid over the AAA(A) Etonian.
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MadNatSci
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(Original post by tomcoolinguk)
I'm not being black and white. Your point is valid but has been addressed throughout this thread.
I know - this kind of argument always riles me up (I think it does everyone) though and I wanted my 10 cents

I wonder if you actually read my post at all MadNatSci, as I actually detailed I how most Oxbridge colleges use average achievement at GCSE and A Level of an applicants' school to compare their relative achievements- this would make sure good comprehensives were acknowledged!
I was answering the post I quoted, and the rest of the post was really railing against most of the posts made in this thread and on all the other threads amde on this topic since the dawn of time... Sorry, I should have made it clearer that I wasn't actually answering you the whole time: I skimmed this thread until I saw the point made by Yannis, which I thought and still think is valid.

Here you seem to be contradicting your aforementioned argument.
I don't actually think I was: I specified a failing school, not just any comprehensive.

No child should feel persecuted for their educational background, but people from private schools seem to want to have their cake and eat it. As someone has mentioned previously on this thread, if people accept the many advantages of private education you have to accept the drawback that your achievements are set against a context of better facilities and preparation.
Mostly, yes, privately educated kids are better taught in general than state-educated pupils, and have better facilities. This is still a generalisation but I'll accept it. BUT no matter what the advantages someone has had in their education... etc etc. I'm not really talking about achievement, because the achievement is obviously greater at a poor comprehensive. I'm talking about potential and dedication to the subject and everything Oxbridge are looking for, really. As for accepting the drawbacks - when my parents sent me to my little school, aged eleven, I honestly had no idea about the drawbacks.

The example I gave was non-descript, you pedantic fool. But let's assume it was a spatial reasoning test, as you suggest. The assertion I gave would STILL STAND!!!!!
I don't think it would. YOU might assume that the same test result makes the 3 year old brighter, but I wouldn't. Pedantic I may be but I'd suggest that you would be the fool for your assumption there...

When you think about, it, actually, just for two seconds it doesn't apply to GCSEs and A Levels. They are developed upon common criteria from the QCA nimwit.
My comment about GCSEs and A levels was relatively tongue-in-cheek actually. But it IS fairly widely acknowledged that GCSEs and A levels are not a particularly good way of differentiating between ability; hence the high number of A grades at A level and the consequent difficulties for universities in choosing candidates.
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Toni Mag
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#118
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(Original post by earthmother)
The Irish system is not flawless. Too many people get into courses purely on examination results and the drop-out rate is relatively high. A move away from a pure points system is being considered as the universities would like to be able to interview or at least read some sort of personal statement/school reference.

I wish you well with your re-application but for your own sake put it all behind you if you aren't successful this time.

I don't want to get into the whole public/private school debate as it's not part of my experience. Mind you, there aren't many who just happen to bump into an admissions tutor whilst working in a hospital (was this in France?).

As a parent I have experience of one child getting into Oxford. She was turned down by her first college but taken by her second. Another is applying for Cambridge this year. Her results to date are as impressive as yours but there's every chance she won't make it even though I'm sure she'd do very well there. If the worst thing that happens to any child of mine is that they don't make it to Oxbridge then I'll consider myself very blessed.

I'm convinced there's a large element of luck in the Oxbridge application process. When mine embarked on the process we were complete novices and the school had little experience either although they were very supportive.

I notice that you weren't successful with your application to other universities. Perhaps you need to look at your Personal Statement and see if it needs changing. Just a thought.

Whatever way things turn out, I wish you well.

THANKS. I didn't mean to upset the state-educated applicants / students.
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Toni Mag
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#119
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Some of the arguments / presumprions above are simply ridiculous:
(i) Why is BBB at a Comp better that AAA elsewhere? On the basis that teachers in a Comp are less committed / capable? There is NO proof that that is the case. In fact, DfES / Ofsted research suggest the opposite.
(ii) Much teaching in private schools is merely cursory. Much A-level attainment is down to the student working independently anyway.
(iii) Much of the intake in private schools is comprehensive in ability terms, if very selective in socio-economic terms. Much of the intake in state schools is not comprehensive as originally intended; e.g. all state schools in cambridge are 11-16 and then students go to e.g. Hills Rd for A-level. This worthy establishment is truly an exam factory with the best, most highly-paid teachers one could imagine. Why is this less 'elitist / selective / etc' than a random private school?
(iv) What makes you think that someone getting 10A* at GCSE in a private school couldn't have achieved the same at any comp? Or that a student with BBC from a comp would have got AAA in a private school?
(v) Students at state comps do NOT receive less support from family and school than private students. All other things being equal, I would suggest that the incidence of marital breakdown, long working hours and rampant materialism, and that type of 'disruption' is higher among private school toffs.

I think, to be honest, some respondents to my posting are simply biased against difference. If we accept students from different school-types, and accept that different school types should exist (and be funded from general taxation), then all students should be assessed on the basis of achievement and not on the basis of unrealised potential (which is unassessable surely). For example, if all state comps are treated ab initio as places where student attainment is lower BECAUSE teachers are weaker etc, and have to be 'compensated for' in the admissions process, then why continue to fund them? Why not 'privatise' - not in a Thatcherite sense - all schools (using tax rebates say and funding for poorer students to attend) and immediately raise attainment? Answer: in my opinion, because attaintment would NOT increase. Low student attainment is not due to school TYPE, but to other causal factors in the background, that are being masked by puerile argument and bigotry.

And what about MY 'unrealised potential'? Just because I got all A* at GCSE doesn't mean that's the limit of MY achievement. If I had been allowed, I might have 14 A* and 7 A at A-level. Why is a student from a state comp assumed to have unrealised potential but a student from a private school is assumed to have over-achieved?

Finally, I have two questions from those who responded so truculently to my original posting. They are unpleasant questions, but let the truth out:
(i) Has the % of working class students gone down or up since comprehensivisation? Was the % of 'poor kids' higher or lower under the state run grammar system? Even at £35K p.a., I come from a working class background and PROUD of it. But I'm fed up with social engineering platitudes from the chattering classes.
(2) Is no part of school achievement due to inherited / genetic book-intelligence? Surely some? In which case, why is it not axiomatic that more university students will come from one 'educational background' more than another? You see, if it's social engineering you people want, then the way to do it is select on the basis of parental qualifications! If on the other hand , like me, you find that REPULSIVE, then select SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF MERIT, and stop trying to be smart-assed!

Remember Kant's categorical imperative: "if you wouldn't like something to become universal, then don't support it." Would you all really be in favour of anything other than a pure meritocracy? Anything other is Stalinist, in my opinion. Interviews give ample opportunity to assess students other than tweaking their actual results.

toni
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RxB
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#120
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(Original post by Toni Mag)
(iii) Much of the intake in private schools is comprehensive in ability terms, if very selective in socio-economic terms. Much of the intake in state schools is not comprehensive as originally intended; e.g. all state schools in cambridge are 11-16 and then students go to e.g. Hills Rd for A-level. This worthy establishment is truly an exam factory with the best, most highly-paid teachers one could imagine. Why is this less 'elitist / selective / etc' than a random private school?
You've brought up a lot of issues here and I'm sure someone will pick on them, but this is the one I'm probably best equipped to deal with, knowing the Cambridge system pretty well.

Firstly, it's not true that all state schools in Cambridge are 11-16 (assuming you're also referring to the schools just outside), most obviously IVC, which does IB instead of A-levels, but also Netherhall, which has a small sixth form doing A-levels. But that's not that important. Sure HRSFC gets great results, but apparently admissions tutors generally treat it as if it's a public school in terms of results. In addition to this, people at HRSFC might get great A-level results, but they're mostly either from a private school which they left after GCSE (a huge chunk) or from the better state schools. The kids from the failing schools in Cambridge (yes, they do exist) will mostly go to Long Road or CRC. At Long Road they might do well and get decent A-levels (it does happen) or they might get caught up in huge classes with poor teachers, and at CRC they'll be doing diplomas or AVCEs or something which they don't realise Oxbridge won't accept.

Wow, that's a huge paragraph which I should have broken up.
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