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    I think Lammy is wrong and right. There certainly is a problem with representation of working class/ethnic minorities at Oxbridge, but it isn't the fault of Oxbridge if applicants from these backgrounds don't have the academic record. They can't accept people who they aren't sure will be able to keep up with the rigour of Oxbridge because that damages the reputation of the university; correct me if I'm wrong, but TEF take pass rates/degree classification into account, don't they?

    The problem is that private school students or middle class white children from the South have an advantage from the very beginning. They're brought up by educated parents who make sure they send them to better schools, they're socialised in the 'correct' way, they're brought up with a standard of success and have scholastic and professional opportunities that working class students (particularly minorities) do not. We cannot keep pretending like environment isn't important, and we certainly can't pretend that our society is in any way authentically meritocratic if we don't acknowledge that some kids have a far better chance of getting in because of their upbringing compared to their working class counterparts. Instead of forcing Oxbridge to become more lenient, we should be setting up schemes to encourage, incentivise and enable working class children to pursue Oxbridge from the minute they get to secondary school. I only learned about university and A level requirements in my last few months of AS - and that was far too late.

    But more than just getting academic levels up to scratch, we need to teach working class students to cope in middle-upper class environments. When I went to university and started to socialise with people from middle class backgrounds, I **** you not, it was like moving to another country. The culture shock was immense, and I don't even go to an incredibly impressive university. The alienation that ethnic minority and working class students must feel at Oxbridge is probably far worse. Teachers in working class communities, though some are good, a lot more care about spoon-feeding kids and getting them to just pass. It's a numbers game where they care more about their own annual performance evaluations than encouraging their students, and I don't blame them. But being told that you should be aiming for Cs when you know you can achieve As is demoralising. Working class and ethnic minority kids need to be taught to speak properly and with confidence, they need to be taught how to behave in certain social settings and network, as their middle class counterparts have. This, alongside academic performance, will help empower more working class students to apply to Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    What's the offer rate for those areas?

    Is the improvement of education in Knowsley the responsibility of Cambridge?

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    Barely any kids ever apply to Oxbridge from Knowsley. They are simply not in a position to do by the time they reach year 13. There are many reasons for this, and I think you know that.

    You can talk about 'acceptance rates' all day long, but you also know the real scandal is the lack of applications in the first place.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    Let's talk about Wales then shall we?
    I have a relative with a child in Aberystwyth; from what she tells me, I think the problems aren't really related to Oxbridge...
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Could you be specific about the 'filters' you're talking about? Because as far as I can see, the real filter is some basic level of attainment in public examinations, followed by the same interview, and often admissions test, as every other candidate.

    I suspect most Oxbridge academics don't think all that much about access one way or another. They simply assess, when called upon to do so, the candidates who present themselves, and choose the ones who have potential and appear to be receptive students. This is an entirely proper way for them to behave.

    I'm afraid the bold reads as wild conspiracy theory, especially since there is a strong presence of foreign tutors in most faculties who I doubt have any particular affiliation in general to Old Etonians and the populace of Surrey.
    I was simply stating that the net effect of additional testing + interviews is what it is and given that it is extremely doubtful that BAME and state school candidates are in some overall way significantly inferior to those from white and privileged backgrounds (other than in training and rehearsal, which the official line alleges is neutralised by the process), then it must be the case that precisely the level of intensive prepping for Oxbridge delivered by certain privileged schools is the decisive factor. This is hardly news and (contrary to the denials about it by Oxbridge on an official level) it also strongly indicates that paid-for coaching through specialist companies (if correctly and knowledgeably aimed) is highly likely to produce gamed results in their favour.

    Your last point suggests I was exclusively talking about white English, which I wasn't - of course there is a widespread US and European elite presence at Oxbridge in both academic and student bodies, but that in no way detracts from charges of elitism per se and it is very plausible that the non-UK student body reflects similar social, ethnic and cultural biases to the UK one - I haven't seen figures on that, so I admit I'm going on personal perceptions.

    Incidentally, on this topic, it can be enjoyable to play 'hunt the BAME' amongst Oxbridge college academic staff. The listings are all on their websites, generally with helpful photos.
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    (Original post by Akamega)
    I think Lammy is wrong and right. There certainly is a problem with representation of working class/ethnic minorities at Oxbridge, but it isn't the fault of Oxbridge if applicants from these backgrounds don't have the academic record. They can't accept people who they aren't sure will be able to keep up with the rigour of Oxbridge because that damages the reputation of the university; correct me if I'm wrong, but TEF take pass rates/degree classification into account, don't they?

    The problem is that private school students or middle class white children from the South have an advantage from the very beginning. They're brought up by educated parents who make sure they send them to better schools, they're socialised in the 'correct' way, they're brought up with a standard of success and have scholastic and professional opportunities that working class students (particularly minorities) do not. We cannot keep pretending like environment isn't important, and we certainly can't pretend that our society is in any way authentically meritocratic if we don't acknowledge that some kids have a far better chance of getting in because of their upbringing compared to their working class counterparts. Instead of forcing Oxbridge to become more lenient, we should be setting up schemes to encourage, incentivise and enable working class children to pursue Oxbridge from the minute they get to secondary school. I only learned about university and A level requirements in my last few months of AS - and that was far too late.

    But more than just getting academic levels up to scratch, we need to teach working class students to cope in middle-upper class environments. When I went to university and started to socialise with people from middle class backgrounds, I **** you not, it was like moving to another country. The culture shock was immense, and I don't even go to an incredibly impressive university. The alienation that ethnic minority and working class students must feel at Oxbridge is probably far worse. Teachers in working class communities, though some are good, a lot more care about spoon-feeding kids and getting them to just pass. It's a numbers game where they care more about their own annual performance evaluations than encouraging their students, and I don't blame them. But being told that you should be aiming for Cs when you know you can achieve As is demoralising. Working class and ethnic minority kids need to be taught to speak properly and with confidence, they need to be taught how to behave in certain social settings and network, as their middle class counterparts have. This, alongside academic performance, will help empower more working class students to apply to Oxbridge.
    The absolute best post on this thread. Well said.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    If you applied a tiny bit of thought to this, you would realise that a major issue is that a lot of kids who should be able to be in a position to apply are, through no fault of their own, not able to. There a lot of reasons for this all of which are down to a lack of social, educational fiscal equality in the UK.
    I agree but the universities cannot be blamed for that. Given that education is managed locally people should look to their local politicians and elect those that will try to ensure success and equality of opportunity rather than those that try to bring everything down to the level of the lowest.

    The other major factors are parents who do not value education and will not support schools by improving their children's attendance and behaviour, and the kids themselves, many of whom are easy prey for peer pressure (which is ironic given how many teenagers bleat about wanting to be treated as individuals).

    The reintroduction of grammar schools nationwide would assist (they gave me my route out of poverty) but that is definitely not going to happen due to the control of teaching training being in the hands of those opposed to it for political reasons.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Yup, the English regional offer success rate at Cambridge does vary but not hugely. The least successful English region is Yorkshire 23.5%, with the South East 29.3% most successful.

    Attachment 697438
    It would be interesting to see the equivalent table by SEB groups and ethnicity.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    I agree but the universities cannot be blamed for that. Given that education is managed locally people should look to their local politicians and elect those that will try to ensure success and equality of opportunity rather than those that try to bring everything down to the level of the lowest.

    The other major factors are parents who do not value education and will not support schools by improving their children's attendance and behaviour, and the kids themselves, many of whom are easy prey for peer pressure (which is ironic given how many teenagers bleat about wanting to be treated as individuals).

    The reintroduction of grammar schools nationwide would assist (they gave me my route out of poverty) but that is definitely not going to happen due to the control of teaching training being in the hands of those opposed to it for political reasons.
    It has become the standard mantra on here by the people who don't accept there is a problem to say "this isn't Cambridge's fault.'

    After some thought, I think Oxbridge do need to stand up and comment on the inequalities in the education system, given that they are the two leading lights in this area. To be fair to Oxbridge they do acknowledge they could and should do more. It's the apologists for the *****y system on here who keep saying it's 'not their fault.'
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I have a relative with a child in Aberystwyth; from what she tells me, I think the problems aren't really related to Oxbridge...
    The kids who will have applied to Oxbridge from Wales are likely to represent the brightest and the best in the Country. Why then are they 10% less likely to get an Oxbridge place than the brightest and the best in the South East?
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    Barely any kids ever apply to Oxbridge from Knowsley. They are simply not in a position to do by the time they reach year 13. There are many reasons for this, and I think you know that.

    You can talk about 'acceptance rates' all day long, but you also know the real scandal is the lack of applications in the first place.
    And is this something Oxbridge can be expected to fix?
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    And why too avoid talking about the difference between the success rates of Wales and Scotland compared to the South East?

    You also know full well that within these regions things vary hugely. If you compare the rates of acceptance in Knowsley compared to some of the leafier areas of Cheshire, there would be a huge disparity.

    None of this fits your agenda though does it? You just want to persuade people that system is equally fair.
    I don’t think any one is avoiding details. Like you they are just focusing on the evidence that supports their own view.

    Maybe there is something like student finance that impacts the Welsh and Scottish applicants. For instance, if I was a Scottish applicant I would probably only put in a half hearted Oxbridge application when I knew I might get free education at somewhere like Edinburgh or St Andrews.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    And is this something Oxbridge can be expected to fix?
    They could certainly try to do something about it. Why should the two best universities in the Country ignore the social inequality which is happening under their noses. Perhaps you would prefer it if we all just accept this and carry on with the status quo?
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    Barely any kids ever apply to Oxbridge from Knowsley. They are simply not in a position to do by the time they reach year 13. There are many reasons for this, and I think you know that.

    You can talk about 'acceptance rates' all day long, but you also know the real scandal is the lack of applications in the first place.
    As is widely known, a big part of this is the cultural signals and messages that reach young people about Oxbridge (and some of the other 'upper' universities) - the fact that these are widespread doesn't let the latter off the hook. They need to tackle those messages head on and this will involve (if done in a real, rather than a cosmetic way) some painful reforms, such as increasing minority representation amongst staff, perhaps things like the introduction of quotas (worth a try even if only on a trial basis in a limited way) and, who knows, maybe opening top university academies in under-represented parts or perhaps off-campus colleges. There are lots of possibilities. One gets the distinct impression that many of the current widening initiatives are cosmetic, albeit well meaning.

    In addition, the media has some responsibility, for one thing, to stop peddling 19th century imagery of Oxbridge. That movie "Riot Club" being a recent example.

    The colleges could also do with dispensing with some aspects of their traditions, these serve to portray a vision of college life that is at most marginal, but has high penetration.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    It would be interesting to see the equivalent table by SEB groups and ethnicity.
    This one?

    Name:  Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 15.22.54.jpg
Views: 13
Size:  481.5 KB

    What's SEB? Socio-economic background? There's a POLAR chart...
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    This one?

    Name:  Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 15.22.54.jpg
Views: 13
Size:  481.5 KB

    What's SEB? Socio-economic background? There's a POLAR chart...
    I knew you would help!

    Yes, social economic background.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    It would be interesting to see the equivalent table by SEB groups and ethnicity.
    POLAR and OAC

    Name:  Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 15.26.06.jpg
Views: 16
Size:  440.9 KB

    https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....2016_cycle.pdf
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    And is this something Oxbridge can be expected to fix?
    There's a difference between a fix and a move in the right direction. All the higher status universities in the UK officially proclaim a desire to widen access. The question is, are they succeeding and if not, why not?
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    This one?

    Name:  Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 15.22.54.jpg
Views: 13
Size:  481.5 KB

    What's SEB? Socio-economic background? There's a POLAR chart...
    That table clearly shows the much bigger issue that Lammy was trying to highlight than the geographical one. Unfortunately I am not surprised by any of those stats.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    The kids who will have applied to Oxbridge from Wales are likely to represent the brightest and the best in the Country. Why then are they 10% less likely to get an Oxbridge place than the brightest and the best in the South East?
    Because their schools are not as good at preparing people for Oxbridge.

    [Also, possibly, their schools are more unrealistic about weaker applicants chances of getting in. No idea if that is the case, but when I hear a school complaining that their student should have got in because they got AAA, that says more about the school (or the reporter, to be fair) than anything else].
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    That table clearly shows the much bigger issue that Lammy was trying to highlight than the geographical one. Unfortunately I am not surprised by any of those stats.
    As mentioned by Peterhouse, the table doesn't show the courses. And the choice of courses often dictate the application rate for some ethnicities.

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