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Oxbridge = Inaccessible to most students? Watch

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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?
    Of course elite institutions are inaccessible to most students. That's what makes them elite, and it should stay that way. Complaining about it is stupid.
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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.

    Attachment 697218
    That graph shows a strong correlation between proximity to the university and offers made. The only useful one is a graph that illustrates percentage of offers made per thousand candidates from an area, rather than per thousand population.
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    (Original post by CaraStudying)
    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.
    Did you go to a private school? If so, you have been tutored much more thoroughly and in smaller class sizes than your state school counterpart.

    I hear parents who send their kids to the big name private schools feeling pressured to get the kids tutored for the 11+/entrance exams, and then again for GCSEs, because it has become the norm. Some parents take on the responsibility themselves or pay for access to online courses.

    But it isn't just that kind of extreme additional support they get. If you have your own phone that's paid for by the bank of mum and dad, your own laptop, and a good wifi connection, you have constantly individual access to various learning opportunities. Those at the other end of the spectrum are more likely to have limited access to these things, typically through borrowed resources from public services, or restricted data allowances on mobile phones. Their basic ability to educate themselves is far more restricted than someone who basically can afford to pay for the same access.

    The point made above about being around peers who encourage you is also a very good one though. If you are constantly encouraged rather than discouraged, whether it be by teachers, parents or peers, you start believing in your ability (and sometimes far too much so).
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    (Original post by LlamaLikeEllie)
    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.
    What does family income have to do with grammar schools? The reason most people can't go to grammars now is that demand far outstrips supply.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That graph shows a strong correlation between proximity to the university and offers made. The only useful one is a graph that illustrates percentage of offers made per thousand candidates from an area, rather than per thousand population.
    I would expect that to be even more damning.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Did you go to a private school? If so, you have been tutored much more thoroughly and in smaller class sizes than your state school counterpart.

    I hear parents who send their kids to the big name private schools feeling pressured to get the kids tutored for the 11+/entrance exams, and then again for GCSEs, because it has become the norm. Some parents take on the responsibility themselves or pay for access to online courses.

    But it isn't just that kind of extreme additional support they get. If you have your own phone that's paid for by the bank of mum and dad, your own laptop, and a good wifi connection, you have constantly individual access to various learning opportunities. Those at the other end of the spectrum are more likely to have limited access to these things, typically through borrowed resources from public services, or restricted data allowances on mobile phones. Their basic ability to educate themselves is far more restricted than someone who basically can afford to pay for the same access.

    The point made above about being around peers who encourage you is also a very good one though. If you are constantly encouraged rather than discouraged, whether it be by teachers, parents or peers, you start believing in your ability (and sometimes far too much so).
    I went to my local primary school (which wasn't great) because my mum didn't want me to be forced to be super academic if it wasn't what I would end up as naturally and then struggle along, had no tutoring for the 11+, got in and am still at the grammar school in year 13. It starts at primary school, because I had some teachers in my years there who didn't really make me want to do anything. I'm very lucky to have passed the 11+ without being tutored to the exam, and actually a lot of those who were tutored don't do as well as some people who were not. Now uni applications have started, a lot of those who have applied to Oxbridge and have the best chances (in my opinion) are a lot of those who just had the encouragement, and not the large amounts of tutoring that some others did.
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    (Original post by CaraStudying)
    I went to my local primary school (which wasn't great) because my mum didn't want me to be forced to be super academic if it wasn't what I would end up as naturally and then struggle along, had no tutoring for the 11+, got in and am still at the grammar school in year 13. It starts at primary school, because I had some teachers in my years there who didn't really make me want to do anything. I'm very lucky to have passed the 11+ without being tutored to the exam, and actually a lot of those who were tutored don't do as well as some people who were not. Now uni applications have started, a lot of those who have applied to Oxbridge and have the best chances (in my opinion) are a lot of those who just had the encouragement, and not the large amounts of tutoring that some others did.
    You are lucky to be in a LEA that offers the 11+. These are namely areas of much higher wealth, and obviously where there are numerous grammer schools to support the system. Many in poorer areas won't even get the opportunity you were provided with.

    So imagine how badly those people who were tutored would have done without being tutored? There is obviosuly a raw ability here, you had that raw ability over your fellow students who were tutored. But there will be plenty whose raw ability is much worse than yours but has been managed through a system of tutoring.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    You are lucky to be in a LEA that offers the 11+. These are namely areas of much higher wealth, and obviously where there are numerous grammer schools to support the system. Many in poorer areas won't even get the opportunity you were provided with.

    So imagine how badly those people who were tutored would have done without being tutored? There is obviosuly a raw ability here, you had that raw ability over your fellow students who were tutored. But there will be plenty whose raw ability is much worse than yours but has been managed through a system of tutoring.
    It's definitely wrong that not everyone has access to it, but grammar schools have the potential to help students who have the raw ability if they live in an area that provides it. Seeing people go through it and do well is very rewarding for all of the teachers and even fellow students who may have helped them, and getting rid of them is not (in my opinion) the way to put everyone on an equal playing field and make top universities including Oxbridge more accessible, despite what many people said when the government set out their plans to create more grammar schools. There was already a huge change to the 11+ to try and reduce the amount that tutoring can help, but tutors have already caught up with it. Not sure what else can be done to 'fix' the system, which is really unfortunate.
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    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    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.
    It is because they are relying on a flawed system that measures and determines "high-acheiving" and that system heavily favours those who are much more well off both financially and also in terms of the personal networks and knowledge within those networks.
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    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    What does family income have to do with grammar schools? The reason most people can't go to grammars now is that demand far outstrips supply.
    While grammars are based on so-called natural academic ability, an academic mind is a taught mind. Having a stable family environment, parents who are university educated, is going to put you at an advantage over someone from a single-parent household and whose mother is on the dole.

    The idea that grammars are therefore meritocratic or egalitarian is a little misconceived.
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    (Original post by CaraStudying)
    It's definitely wrong that not everyone has access to it, but grammar schools have the potential to help students who have the raw ability if they live in an area that provides it. Seeing people go through it and do well is very rewarding for all of the teachers and even fellow students who may have helped them, and getting rid of them is not (in my opinion) the way to put everyone on an equal playing field and make top universities including Oxbridge more accessible, despite what many people said when the government set out their plans to create more grammar schools. There was already a huge change to the 11+ to try and reduce the amount that tutoring can help, but tutors have already caught up with it. Not sure what else can be done to 'fix' the system, which is really unfortunate.
    Even for many who have the opportunity to take an 11+, the actual ability to attend the school may also be impossible. Families are priced out of living near grammar schools where house and rent prices go up purely because there is a grammar school nearby! So they don't bother with the 11+ because there's no way their child can get to and from school safely/quickly without the parent having to take time away from work, and potentially earn less. Given that admissions to 11+ are not just based on the results, but will also take into factors such as geographical proximity, preference for those with siblings at the school, religous preference in some cases, it is not just someone's ability on the 11+ that will get them into that school.

    In England there are less than 170 secondary grammar schools out of 3,000+ schools. A disproportionate of these grammar schools are in areas of higher wealth, or in city centres. Grammar schools are ultimately for the few. They either need to be abolished entirely, or rolled out consistently to provide equal opportunity for everyone. Otherwise, unfortunatley they just will increase the social mobility gap, even if their intentions are to reduce it.

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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Even for many who have the opportunity to take an 11+, the actual ability to attend the school may also be impossible. Families are priced out of living near grammar schools where house and rent prices go up purely because there is a grammar school nearby! So they don't bother with the 11+ because there's no way their child can get to and from school safely/quickly without the parent having to take time away from work, and potentially earn less. Given that admissions to 11+ are not just based on the results, but will also take into factors such as geographical proximity, preference for those with siblings at the school, religous preference in some cases, it is not just someone's ability on the 11+ that will get them into that school.

    In England there are less than 170 secondary grammar schools out of 3,000+ schools. A disproportionate of these grammar schools are in areas of higher wealth, or in city centres. Grammar schools are ultimately for the few. They either need to be abolished entirely, or rolled out consistently to provide equal opportunity for everyone. Otherwise, unfortunatley they just will increase the social mobility gap, even if their intentions are to reduce it.

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    It's interesting to see that although there is some correlation between this map and the map of Oxbridge offers, it's not as large as you'd expect. I do wish that grammars could be rolled out to more people, but our country obviously has bigger problems to deal with right now
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    You are lucky to be in a LEA that offers the 11+. These are namely areas of much higher wealth, and obviously where there are numerous grammer schools to support the system. .
    Nonsense! How do you explain the fact that Kent and Lincolnshire, both with a grammar school system are relatively badly represented at Oxbridge?


    (Original post by J-SP)
    I would expect that to be even more damning
    It is interesting that you are prepared to judge based on evidence that isn't there, and even draw a conclusion from the evidence that isn't there.
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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.
    Oxbridge also practises an interview system which further filters and additional pre-entry tests for many subjects. So we have to look at those as well as just raw A Level results. Colleges generally claim now that it's harder for privileged parents and schools to game the interview system with all the additional coaching, interview training and so on, but I think it's fair to say that the evidence remains against that. However, there is also just the basic question of who applies to Oxbridge - cultural barriers against applying are strong in many less privileged schools and areas. Then we have the outreach practised by Oxbridge, which is heavily focused on schools that 'typically' send students there way and these in the main are upper-tier grammars and the like, full of privileged students.
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    (Original post by CaraStudying)
    It's interesting to see that although there is some correlation between this map and the map of Oxbridge offers, it's not as large as you'd expect. I do wish that grammars could be rolled out to more people, but our country obviously has bigger problems to deal with right now
    People are not as geographically mobile as people think. The majority of people will go to a university that is close to home, typically in the same county, or a next door one. HESA stats show this. So the people who go to grammar schools in the Wirral are far more likely to study at Liverpool or Manchester than they are Oxford.
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    And perhaps genes have something to do with it?

    Smart parents earn more money and move to expensive areas in London and SE.

    And smart parents produce smart children who get Oxbridge offers?
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    It's similar with every good uni
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Nonsense! How do you explain the fact that Kent and Lincolnshire, both with a grammar school system are relatively badly represented at Oxbridge?




    It is interesting that you are prepared to judge based on evidence that isn't there, and even draw a conclusion from the evidence that isn't there.
    See my above post about geographical mobility.

    I did say "expect" and I would like to see evidence to that effect (I couldn't find any though after a half-hearted search). I would like to be proven wrong though.
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    And perhaps genes have something to do with it?

    Smart parents earn more money and move to expensive areas in London and SE.

    And smart parents produce smart children who get Oxbridge offers?
    Someone doesn't understand how genetics work, nor how wealth can be gained.
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    (Original post by Notorious_B.I.G.)
    While grammars are based on so-called natural academic ability, an academic mind is a taught mind. Having a stable family environment, parents who are university educated, is going to put you at an advantage over someone from a single-parent household and whose mother is on the dole.

    The idea that grammars are therefore meritocratic or egalitarian is a little misconceived.
    That and the preparation for the interview, etc, that is offered at the best schools.
 
 
 
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