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Oxbridge = Inaccessible to most students? Watch

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41664459
    ...OK, so I've hardly come up with Fermat's Last Theorem there, but according to FOI data acquired by David Lammy (a Labour MP), Oxford and Cambridge are understood to be mostly sending offers to the more well-off regions of England (mostly southern, some northern - about half of ALL offers go to those in London and the south-east). Around 80% of applicants are also understood to be in the top two social classes.

    Point of consideration: Is Oxbridge really turning more inaccessible, is this a case of same-old-same-old, or is this just a quirk in the system?
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    I mean yes of course the hardest universities to get into in the country will be inaccessible to be most students. However yes I agree that the disparity between the proportion of people getting AAA+ from different backgrounds is quite shocking. I can't remember the statistics exactly but if you listen to the discussion on radio 4 at about 7:30 this morning (might have been quarter to) there are some quite alarming ones like less than 600 students getting AAA+ who are on FSM while 30% of students from a specific privileged background (can't remember the exact description) got AAA+. I think the problem is definitely with secondary schools though. It's much more important that every student in the country has access to an environment that facilitates learning and then they will start achieving the high grades and places at top universities will become more split across social classes. I am from a low income background but I was extremely lucky to have gone to pretty decent primary and secondary schools that have allowed me to have a stable learning environment.
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    The problem isn't with Oxbridge itself, the problem lies with the huge overall difference across the country. Those who do better are more likely to get into Oxbridge, and those who do better are more likely to be from an area which is more privileged. (We do also have to remember that with the statistics for how many people there are from London getting in, London is a very populated area compared to some places further north) I read the stats wrong, that point is invalid, sorry!
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    (Original post by Carbon Dioxide)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41664459
    ...OK, so I've hardly come up with Fermat's Last Theorem there, but according to FOI data acquired by David Lammy (a Labour MP), Oxford and Cambridge are understood to be mostly sending offers to the more well-off regions of England (mostly southern, some northern - about half of ALL offers go to those in London and the south-east). Around 80% of applicants are also understood to be in the top two social classes.

    Point of consideration: Is Oxbridge really turning more inaccessible, is this a case of same-old-same-old, or is this just a quirk in the system?
    It's because the top two social classes achieve the best results. That's it. If a student wants to work hard enough individually to go to Oxbridge, they are more than capable of doing so. But, in a world in which some parents pay a **** ton for their child's education - Those students are pushed to perfect the exam system. Its not about Oxbridge being "inaccessible" to everyone.
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    (Original post by Carbon Dioxide)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41664459
    ...OK, so I've hardly come up with Fermat's Last Theorem there, but according to FOI data acquired by David Lammy (a Labour MP), Oxford and Cambridge are understood to be mostly sending offers to the more well-off regions of England (mostly southern, some northern - about half of ALL offers go to those in London and the south-east). Around 80% of applicants are also understood to be in the top two social classes.

    Point of consideration: Is Oxbridge really turning more inaccessible, is this a case of same-old-same-old, or is this just a quirk in the system?
    There are a lot of factors at work here.

    First of all Britain is a more middle class society.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/dat...lass-2000-data

    The people who in a previous generation were likely to be the working class kids at Oxbridge are no longer in the working classes.

    Education now requires much more parental input. The old grammar school system required more or less nothing of parents other than that they bought the uniform. The school arranged the 11 plus. The top 20-25% of kids got in. No tutoring was required. Teachers were powerful authority figures that could be deployed if parents tried to actively frustrated their children's education. I accept that there were structural elements that favoured the middle classes in the grammar system. However, today, a parent who is apathetic about their child's education damns them probably from the age of 4.

    It was said that when Oxford went mixed in the late 70s and early 80s it replaced working class boys with middle class girls and there is some truth in that. The same effect happened when significant numbers of foreign undergraduates started arriving from the 1990s onwards. Attracting a brilliant wealthy Chinese student doesn't reduce the number of Etonians.

    Social mobility is falling across the UK.

    Southern white suburban teenagers probably lead more managed lives than children in the north and that is good for getting the top school grades. I suspect many more northern teenagers still have Saturday jobs and have mobility through public transport.

    There has been a flow of the best talent south in the last 30 years.
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    (Original post by FloralHybrid)
    It's because the top two social classes achieve the best results. That's it. If a student wants to work hard enough individually to go to Oxbridge, they are more than capable of doing so. But, in a world in which some parents pay a **** ton for their child's education - Those students are pushed to perfect the exam system. Its not about Oxbridge being "inaccessible" to everyone.
    Yeah kids from more privileged backgrounds are basically forced to get high grades. Bit of a shame to have your motivation for learning coming from your parents though. Although also, environments like "grammar" (private where you can get scholarships I guess) schools are likely to drive people to do well through competition with their able peers. A lot of my peers who do come from quite middle class families are very able students and think it's fair to say being around them has driven me to work hard so that I can do as well if not better than them.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Yeah kids from more privileged backgrounds are basically forced to get high grades. Bit of a shame to have your motivation for learning coming from your parents though. Although also, environments like grammar schools are likely to drive people to do well through competition with their able peers. A lot of my peers who do come from quite middle class families are very able students and think it's fair to say being around them has driven me to work hard so that I can do as well if not better than them.
    Yes. You absolutely can. And many do.

    But my point still stands - As a general rule, those from higher social background tend to be more academically able, because of how they're taught to nail the exams.

    I agree it's a shame that motivation comes from parents though.

    But at the end of the day, Oxbridge pick the best applicants.
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    (Original post by FloralHybrid)
    Yes. You absolutely can. And many do.

    But my point still stands - As a general rule, those from higher social background tend to be more academically able, because of how they're taught to nail the exams.

    I agree it's a shame that motivation comes from parents though.

    But at the end of the day, Oxbridge pick the best applicants.
    Nods and fingers crossed I do get in although honestly atm more worried about financial things than admissions test and interview. I found out yesterday that I need ID for my camb interview so current got a replacement birth certificate on priority order (my parents lost the original) so that I can get an ID so that's a total for £53.40. Also got a manchester interview at the end of novemember. I was planning to use the bursary the school told me I was entitled to to pay for these sort of things but it turns out I'm not gonna get it, it's just they didn't know my mum is now on working tax credits so I'm not eligible for FSM therefore not eligible for the bursary. Hopefully the school makes an exception though.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Nods and fingers crossed I do get in although honestly atm more worried about financial things than admissions test and interview. I found out yesterday that I need ID for my camb interview so current got a replacement birth certificate on priority order (my parents lost the original) so that I can get an ID so that's a total for £53.40. Also got a manchester interview at the end of novemember. I was planning to use the bursary the school told me I was entitled to to pay for these sort of things but it turns out I'm not gonna get it, it's just they didn't know my mum is now on working tax credits so I'm not eligible for FSM therefore not eligible for the bursary. Hopefully the school makes an exception though.
    I hope so. I wish you the best of luck!
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    David Lammy has been doing some really great work on highlighting economic inequality in the UK, and this is no exception, but I disagree with his use of the word "shocking" to describe the results. It's not even remotely surprising that students from wealthier families are more likely to end up at top universities - they're far more likely to have parents who can afford to live in areas with good schools, or to send them to private school, or top state schools outside their area. They're also more likely to be able to access private tuition for admissions tests, or programmes that offer interview coaching etc. Their schools will have a number of people applying to Oxbridge every year, and so will know how to support them through the process. A student from a low income family is more likely to go to a struggling school, with much less access to support and coaching, and often less encouragement to actually apply in the first place. They're also more likely to be the first person in their family to go to university, meaning that their parents may be less able to guide them through the application process than parents who have experienced that process themselves, or with other children in their family.

    Is this an appalling situation which needs to change? Absolutely. But, deep down, at least, we all already knew that.
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    (Original post by FloralHybrid)
    I hope so. I wish you the best of luck!
    Yeah compared to financial things, school work is easy by comparison. I mean I can just sit in my room all day listening to music and doing physics problems to prepare myself for further education but to mitigate financial problems I would have to get a job and interact with people which I actually find much harder work than school lol. Not to be totally blase about getting into cambridge though, I'm feeling about 50:50 on if I'm going to get an offer or not but I know I'm gonna be able to get into manchester or p much any other top RG uni and I definitely can't wait to go.
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    (Original post by Carbon Dioxide)
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41664459
    ...OK, so I've hardly come up with Fermat's Last Theorem there, but according to FOI data acquired by David Lammy (a Labour MP), Oxford and Cambridge are understood to be mostly sending offers to the more well-off regions of England (mostly southern, some northern - about half of ALL offers go to those in London and the south-east). Around 80% of applicants are also understood to be in the top two social classes.

    Point of consideration: Is Oxbridge really turning more inaccessible, is this a case of same-old-same-old, or is this just a quirk in the system?
    Disagree that oxbridge is turning inaccessible, it is private schools that give students the advantage as they train their students for the interviews and admissions tests that oxbridge ask for and state schools do not do this (on the whole, or if they do it then not as well as the private schools) so of course private schooled students are going to have more of a chance of excelling at interview etc. None of that is really oxbridges fault, they just want to best students possible and if you have been trained to ace the interview and admissions tests you are much more likely to excel and be offered a place.
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    (Original post by madmadmax321)
    Disagree that oxbridge is turning inaccessible, it is private schools that give students the advantage as they train their students for the interviews and admissions tests that oxbridge ask for and state schools do not do this (on the whole, or if they do it then not as well as the private schools) so of course private schooled students are going to have more of a chance of excelling at interview etc. None of that is really oxbridges fault, they just want to best students possible and if you have been trained to ace the interview and admissions tests you are much more likely to excel and be offered a place.
    Hmm yeah my state sixth form (attached to a secondary school which I also went to) gets a small handful (4 last year, 6 the year before) into oxbridge out of a year group of like 150 which I guess is actually quite high. The school will give me a mock interview and there are some very good staff here but I definitely feel like I could be learning more during class a lot of the time. My teachers basically don't have time to help me out with any extension or extra curricular academic activities- they only care about what grades we get in the end. My further maths class is p much the only one that I have ample opportunities to consistently fully engage without it feeling like I am detracting from other's learning by slowing down the lesson. If I went to a school where there were more able students in the classes, the teachers could consistently set harder problems and as a result I would become a more proficient student.
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    (Original post by CaraStudying)
    The problem isn't with Oxbridge itself, the problem lies with the huge overall difference across the country. Those who do better are more likely to get into Oxbridge, and those who do better are more likely to be from an area which is more privileged. We do also have to remember that with the statistics for how many people there are from London getting in, London is a very populated area compared to some places further north.
    Except the more densley populated point is not an issue. The stats are based on per 1000 of 18 year olds in the population, and so is a proportionate calculation. The evidence is pretty damning.

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    (Original post by FloralHybrid)
    But my point still stands - As a general rule, those from higher social background tend to be more academically able, because of how they're taught to nail the exams.
    .
    That doesn't really mean they are more "able" it just means they are more coached. Their potential has been managed far more thoroughly and carefully through private tutition, whether it be through schools or personal tutors. They have been pushed through a system and fast-tracked. Those who haven't had that advantage aren't any less able, their potential just hasn't been facilitated yet.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    That doesn't really mean they are more "able" it just means they are more coached. Their potential has been managed far more thoroughly and carefully through private tutition, whether it be through schools or personal tutors. They have been pushed through a system and fast-tracked. Those who haven't had that advantage aren't any less able, their potential just hasn't been facilitated yet.
    I come from this kind of class as do many of my friends, and I've never been tutored for anything. For a lot of people it's that their family have more emphasis on work ethic and they're of a higher class because they've worked for what they have now, and this gets pushed onto them quite well. Of course there will always be those people who have been tutored extensively, but it's not as many as some people would think.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Except the more densley populated point is not an issue. The stats are based on per 1000 of 18 year olds in the population, and so is a proportionate calculation. The evidence is pretty damning.

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    Oops I can't read, in my defense I've lost my glasses haha, sorry! That last point in my post is invalid.
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    the concept of deferred gratification may be part of the explanation. this is the key driver of middle-class success. by staying in and working hard at their homework young middle class people forgo the fleeting pleasures of discothèques etc; by playing the long game they secure their future comfort at a time when the less focussed members of their age group are frittering away their youth on tawdry pursuits and anti-social activities.
    our admirable middle-class children are willing to submit to the discipline & sheer hard grind of learning, knowing that in the end they will reap their just rewards.
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    The issue for me comes from secondary schools.
    I was very lucky to be able to go to an above average comprehensive school, but other people who live in the North do not get the same opportunity. In my area, it's pay £12,000 a year to go to the one private school, or go to a comprehensive. No other options.
    It used to be that you could go to a grammar no matter your background, as long as you were willing to work hard, and were smart. Now smart kids who still want the best for themselves can't go to grammars due to their family's income, which is completely unfair. Instead, they are forced to sit in large classes where the teacher can't control them, or in a class where the teaching is appalling. If you have a bad teacher, tough. You deal with it, and teach yourself. Not only that, but schools are so poorly funded that you won't get the same opportunities as the private school kids down the road.

    If we want to make the top universities accessible for everyone, then we need to make a good secondary school education more accessible for everyone in society.
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    What's wrong with having elite universities take the highest-achieving students? Personally, I couldn't care less whether Oxbridge was made up completely of miners' children from Newcastle, refugees, asylum seekers or doctors' children from Chelsea, if they're the highest performing of all applicants. Everyone is able to apply to Oxbridge - work hard, apply yourself in school, have some ambition and you'll stand a chance.

    FWIW I didn't get in to Cambridge.
 
 
 
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