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    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Most school libraries are stocked with fiction and some low-level non fiction/outdated encyclopaedias
    Don't forget 5 year old magazines.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    They only care about super circular activities ie activities directly related to your subject. Last time I checked, it didn't cost anything to participate in the lower sixth chemistry challenge or as physics challenge. Also I don't think private tutors are very helpful if you are capable enough to be an oxbridge candidate although private and grammar schools will undoubtedly have a better learning environment that push the top students further.


    (Original post by Etoile)
    Yes, that's what I'm saying. Given that the donors are not parents, students' backgrounds don't matter from a financial perspective.



    They don't care about extra-curriculars. They want you to demonstrate your interest in the subject, which you can do for free by reading extra books from the library. You also shouldn't need a private tutor.

    They do care. For example when it comes to applying to law or finance type degrees, it helps alot if you can secure some work experience with your dad or his friends
    Private tuition makes a HUGE difference difference between a high B and a A. There is not a level playing field with A Levels in this country, its like Watford playing against Man City.

    Basic things like coming from a broken home affect your ability to revise and study in peace and quite.

    If people certain backgrounds are underrepresented at oxbridge it represents a massive failure for society. Public Policy should address it.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Don't forget 5 year old magazines.
    Naa, our crazy librarian wouldn't allow that

    She sends us update emails every day (that we can't block) about library closures, this morning she sent us both a PowerPoint and extra PDF (40 slides) detailing the rules of the library xD.

    Rumour has it she is hidden up in the library after it was found that no one in the main office could stand her
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    (Original post by hannah00)
    They do care. For example when it comes to applying to law or finance type degrees, it helps alot if you can secure some work experience with your dad or his friends
    Private tuition makes a HUGE difference difference between a high B and a A. There is not a level playing field with A Levels in this country, its like Watford playing against Man City.

    Basic things like coming from a broken home affect your ability to revise and study in peace and quite.

    If people certain backgrounds are underrepresented at oxbridge it represents a massive failure for society. Public Policy should address it.
    You need at least 1A* for every cambridge degree and even if you are an A* student there is still a lot of disparity between the highest and lowest A* candidates. Someone who needs to be tutored to go from B to A isn't going to be suitable for oxbridge. Honestly the grades aren't really the problem it's just that being in a state school, the teachers are going to be mostly focus on the pupils doing less well and once you are into the A/A* territory they just try to keep you at that level. On the other hand at private schools, there will be entire classes of people of that level so they can stretch people beyond the a-level syllabus so that they become better problem solvers. Also for humanities, class discussions are more likely to be of a higher level.
    That said yeah I definitely agree it is hard to study in certain circumstances. I got my own room a few months before sitting gcse but it was a bit of nightmare trying to revise and do my homework in a bedroom I shared with 2 brothers XD.
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    You need at least 1A* for every cambridge degree and even if you are an A* student there is still a lot of disparity between the highest and lowest A* candidates. Someone who needs to be tutored to go from B to A isn't going to be suitable for oxbridge. Honestly the grades aren't really the problem it's just that being in a state school, the teachers are going to be mostly focus on the pupils doing less well and once you are into the A/A* territory they just try to keep you at that level. On the other hand at private schools, there will be entire classes of people of that level so they can stretch people beyond the a-level syllabus so that they become better problem solvers. Also for humanities, class discussions are more likely to be of a higher level.
    That said yeah I definitely agree it is hard to study in certain circumstances. I got my own room a few months before sitting gcse but it was a bit of nightmare trying to revise and do my homework in a bedroom I shared with 2 brothers XD.
    It was an example, I could have used C to B to illustrate my point. Also alot of academic grades are is just about practise its not all innate



    there have been academic studies into how background affects your ability to get ahead in life
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    (Original post by hannah00)
    It was an example, I could have used C to B to illustrate my point. Also alot of academic grades are is just about practise its not all innate



    there have been academic studies into how background affects your ability to get ahead in life
    Oh yeah of course it definitely does and I agree more should be done to increase the quality of secondary teaching. Do you think bringing back grammar schools would actually be a good move as it would allow smart kids in poorer areas to have an environment more conducive the learning?
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    (Original post by ImprobableCacti)
    Naa, our crazy librarian wouldn't allow that

    She sends us update emails every day (that we can't block) about library closures, this morning she sent us both a PowerPoint and extra PDF (40 slides) detailing the rules of the library xD.

    Rumour has it she is hidden up in the library after it was found that no one in the main office could stand her
    Ook.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Well they win in lots of other areas, so maybe they aren’t worried about winning this particular battle.
    Have you read the article Doonesbury posted above?

    As long as people like some politicians and campaigners with their own agenda blame Oxbridge and other top universities for everything without looking at what really really causing the problem, things will never get better.

    I can say this because I’m originally from another country. UK has some of the best universities in the world, better standard of primary and secondary education is quite poor. Yes there are many primay/secondary schools that’s really good but they are a small minority rather than a norm. Yes, there are good schools and just OK school in my country, too, but difference between good schools and not-good schools is so huge here.....

    I know several teachers in real life who, though they’re perfectly nice people outside school, I really don’t want my child to be educated by.
    Also it’s always astonished me how some parents aren’t bothered with their own children’s education.

    When I first came to UK many years ago, I noticed this and it frightened me as it’s quite obvious what kind of school your child’s been to can affect so much what kind of university they can enter.
    And because the standard of primary/secondary education (esp.quality of teachers) is something you can’t take for granted, parents have to be very conscious of what school they send their kids to.

    These are the real problem not only for participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at top universities but also for many other social issues.
    And there isn’t much universities (whether Oxbridge or not) can do something about it. Their primay purpose of existence is university education and as a frontier of research in their academic fields, not sorting out the problem that exist even before students think of applying to universities.

    Unless everyone (esp. those with their own agenda) truly sees this and tackle where the problem really is, things will not improve much.
    And the first thing it has to be changed is the mindset of people who always blame other people (inc. institutions/organisations) for everything and not doing what they can and should be doing themselves.
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    Have you read the article Doonesbury posted above?

    As long as people like some politicians and campaigners with their own agenda blame Oxbridge and other top universities for everything without looking at what really really causing the problem, things will never get better.

    I can say this because I’m originally from another country. UK has some of the best universities in the world, better standard of primary and secondary education is quite poor. Yes there are many primay/secondary schools that’s really good but they are a small minority rather than a norm. Yes, there are good schools and just OK school in my country, too, but difference between good schools and not-good schools is so huge here.....

    I know several teachers in real life who, though they’re perfectly nice people outside school, I really don’t want my child to be educated by.
    Also it’s always astonished me how some parents aren’t bothered with their own children’s education.

    When I first came to UK many years ago, I noticed this and it frightened me as it’s quite obvious what kind of school your child’s been to can affect so much what kind of university they can enter.
    And because the standard of primary/secondary education (esp.quality of teachers) is something you can’t take for granted, parents have to be very conscious of what school they send their kids to.

    These are the real problem not only for participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds at top universities but also for many other social issues.
    And there isn’t much universities (whether Oxbridge or not) can do something about it. Their primay purpose of existence is university education and as a frontier of research in their academic fields, not sorting out the problem that exist even before students think of applying to universities.

    Unless everyone (esp. those with their own agenda) truly sees this and tackle where the problem really is, things will not improve much.
    And the first thing it has to be changed is the mindset of people who always blame other people (inc. institutions/organisations) for everything and not doing what they can and should be doing themselves.
    Yes, I did read the article. I don’t see what that has to do with my post you have replied to, maybe you have misconstrued it.

    I will say it again. Oxford/Oxbridge are not fully to blame. But they are part of the systematic problem, and their whole ethos of academic excellence and prestige creates resistance against diversity. But that is because the way in which everything has been designed over hundreds of years by wealthy rich white men, including measures of what academic excellence is - Oxford would not exist without those people, and wouldn’t have its continued reputation or be as well funded now without those people. Those people have their own agendas as much as Lammy does.

    I fully support the point that we need to do better across the whole society. I work in the diversity sphere so have been doing what I can to try and change things, especially in terms of universities and early careers. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight where things aren’t working or where there are still problems though, and Oxford/Oxbridge, given their stats, has a problem and they are at the extreme end of that problem. They need to take some responsibility for that problem, and although they continue to do a lot to try and improve the situation, clearly it isn’t working as well as it should be.

    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Yes, I did read the article. I don’t see what that has to do with my post you have replied to, maybe you have misconstrued it.

    I will say it again. Oxford/Oxbridge are not fully to blame. But they are part of the systematic problem, and their whole ethos of academic excellence and prestige creates resistance against diversity. But that is because the way in which everything has been designed over hundreds of years by wealthy rich white men, including measures of what academic excellence is - Oxford would not exist without those people, and wouldn’t have its continued reputation or be as well funded now without those people. Those people have their own agendas as much as Lammy does.

    I fully support the point that we need to do better across the whole society. I work in the diversity sphere so have been doing what I can to try and change things, especially in terms of universities and early careers. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t highlight where things aren’t working or where there are still problems though, and Oxford/Oxbridge, given their stats, has a problem and they are at the extreme end of that problem. They need to take some responsibility for that problem, and although they continue to do a lot to try and improve the situation, clearly it isn’t working as well as it should be.

    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
    I’m not saying it’s not up to universities at all. I’m saying you can’t keep on blaming them for the problem when there’s a limit they can do.
    They can and should be a part of the solution. But a role they can play in it is not big when the real issues lie somewhere else.

    Name of Oxbridge does easily draw attentions from people and media. Keeping on blaming them repeats for the issue like this would only people’s real understanding of what really should be tackled as it’s much easier to criticise them.

    Anyway.....
    I’m not continuing this discussion with you anymore as you seem to be set to blame them whatever or how much they do.
    And it’s a mindset of people like you that’s a part of the problem too. The famous blame-culture....,..
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    I’m not saying it’s not up to universities at all. I’m saying you can’t keep on blaming them for the problem when there’s a limit they can do.
    They can and should be a part of the solution. But a role they can play in it is not big when the real issues lie somewhere else.

    Name of Oxbridge does easily draw attentions from people and media. Keeping on blaming them repeats for the issue like this would only people’s real understanding of what really should be tackled as it’s much easier to criticise them.

    Anyway.....
    I’m not continuing this discussion with you anymore as you seem to be set to blame them whatever or how much they do.
    And it’s a mindset of people like you that’s a part of the problem too. The famous blame-culture....,..
    This is getting tiresome.

    I’m not blaming them and even if I was I wouldn’t “whatever or how much they do”.

    And you are blaming me for blaming them. Hypocrisy much?
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    I am going to through a few thoughts into the mix, some of which are inconsistent with each other.

    As overall numbers of students have risen, student mobility has fallen. More students are studying close to home. There are several financial and social drivers for this. The old student grant system punished students who were within commuting distance of university by only finding them to live at home. The Scottish funding system favours Scots studying in Scotland. The relative cost of student public transport has risen. This is quite complex but once upon a time student railcards had a 50% discount and return train tickets were valid for 3 months, not one. A greater proportion of students have an expectation of "Dad's taxi" at the start and end of term. That places a constraint on reasonable expectations. Mobile phones/social media mean keeping up with school friends in university terms is realistic which impacts on how physically distant one is willing to be from them. It is unclear to what extent this impacts on Oxbridge but there is a clear geographical bias between Oxford and Cambridge as to where they recruit within the south.

    Oxford has been throwing considerable sums on outreach since the 1970s but with not much discernible effect. Oxford's proportion of state school pupils peaked in 1982 and probably only got back there in 2016

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8579807.stm
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37250916

    In 1964 Oxford's male colleges were taking 37% of admissions from state schools plus an unknown number of free pupils from direct grant schools (direct grant schools had to take at least 25% free state funded places but many took much more). More direct grant school pupils went to university than children from any other type of school. In 1968 direct grant Manchester Grammar sent 38% of its pupils to university when nationwide only 8% of 18 year olds went into higher education (including polytechnics) . Only one other school exceeded this proportion; Winchester.

    By 1970 Oxford had 11,000 undergraduates. Over the preceding 50 years, it had grown by 150%. In the next 47 years it has grown to
    11,728 undergraduates which is almost entirely the result of more 4 year courses in science. Each year there were in 1970 (ie after the huge explosion in the number of universities in the 1960s) just over 50,000 university graduates a year. In other words Oxford alone was producing around 7% of all graduates (and a significantly higher proportion of male university graduates).

    What has actually happened in that period has been an enormous growth in post-graduate places. How many British working class kids do non-vocational higher degrees anywhere? That has had a huge impact on the poshification of Oxford.
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    My dad really benefited from the northern grammar-university trajectory of the late 1960s-1970s. This system certainly doesn't exist in the same way any more and the landscape of education has changed a lot due to a number of factors. I don't think it's the fault of one university in particular (although unis can always do more) but rather the deep seated inequality in education in the UK which continues to persist despite efforts.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    If you take the argument that it isn’t up to universities to try and help this issue, then none of them would do all the very important access initiatives that are needed. Not placing any responsibility on them is as crazy as putting all the responsibility on them.
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:

    Of the nearly 31,000 white students who got three As or better at A-level [...] around 21% applied to Oxford. [...]

    529 Black students got three As or better at A level and applied to university through UCAS, and 18% of them applied to Oxford.
    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:



    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
    I think Outreach is possibly more about POLAR than BME. I can't see if there's an analysis showing Polar 1 & 2 being relatively under-represented in that file but there's also the issue that those groups are less likely to get the AAA+ in the first place.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    A document I found that's useful to the discussion is this one on admissions from Oxford:

    https://www.ox.ac.uk/media/global/ww...stics_2013.pdf

    [Disclaimer: this is my words not theirs, but I'd say the subtext of the document is to a large extent "here's why inequality in admissions is not our fault"].

    But a couple of relevant figures:



    So it actually looks as if the proportion of black applicants is roughly what you'd expect given that AAA is a realistic minimum requirement. (In fact, people only achieving AAA have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting in, with A*A*A* that rises to almost 1 in 2).

    I was actually surprised at this, but maybe outreach isn't a big a factor as people assume?
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided earlier (although that was only for a small group of subjects).

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided
    No, it's not the *same* rate. But it's close. As I said before, you look at the overall picture, and 80% of the issue is the lack of AAA grades, and maybe 20% is acceptance rates. You keep harpiing on about the 20% difference (*), but even if fixed there would still be a massive discrepancy due to how few black students come out of our education system with AAA.

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.
    Contextualised admissions doesn't mean "anyone can get in, whatever their exam results". Being controversial in my own right, what people outside the process tend not to realise is that by Oxbridge standards, AAA is a really low bar. The fact of the matter is that if you can only get AAA, you're unlikely to be made an offer. But it's the contextualised admissions process that means that "you still get looked at even if your likely A-level grades are AAA, in case we think we see some potential that A-levels are missing".

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
    I think the race issue is the emotive one (and I also think, as I posted elsewhere, that if you come from/work in London, it's the slightly shocking one when you visit an Oxbridge college. Although again, in reality that's at least as much to do with London being an outlier than Oxbridge].

    (*) There are also statistical reasons to say that much, if not all of that 20% is either due to subject choice and scores within subjects. But you've kind of indicated you don't want in depth stats discussion, so I'm ignoring that for now.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    And yet the applicants don't turn into the same level of offers or accepted offers at that same rate looking at the stats Doonsbury provided earlier (although that was only for a small group of subjects).

    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place? And if so, does that really mean they are using contextualised admissions processes, or if so are they using them effectively.

    But the issue here is not necessarily on of race (although Lammy does reference it), it is one of socio-economic background.
    See my post immediately prior to yours

    But yes A*s at A-level are a good predictor of Tripos (Cambridge degree) success
    https://www.cao.cam.ac.uk/sites/www....erformance.pdf

    I guess it's not surprising given the academic nature of an Oxbridge course.

    And note: "Equally well qualified students (in terms of A* grades achieved) from state and independent schools and colleges are equally likely to prosper in the first year of Tripos, i.e. there is no ‘sector gap’;"

    A POLAR sub-analysis of this data would be useful.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Controversial question maybe, but do Oxbridge need to really rely so heavily on AAA (or A*A*A* given what you have said above) to decide who gets a place?
    That is controversial only insofar as it nears no relationship to the Oxbridge selection process, which does not rely heavily on grades to be met but which looks at the candidates' ability (often using specific tests or more advanced exams like STEP), potential and fit to the teaching methods (via an interview grilling) with no great weight on getting grades at A-level. Other universities, by contrast, often give offers to anyone predicted to attain the entry requirement. At Oxbridge the published entry requirement is more of a box to be ticked, and is usually exceeded significantly.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    That is controversial only insofar as it nears no relationship to the Oxbridge selection process, which does not rely heavily on grades to be met but which looks at the candidates' ability (often using specific tests or more advanced exams like STEP), potential and fit to the teaching methods (via an interview grilling) with no great weight on getting grades at A-level. Other universities, by contrast, often give offers to anyone predicted to attain the entry requirement. At Oxbridge the published entry requirement is more of a box to be ticked, and is usually exceeded significantly.
    Yeah it's because a large proportion of people who are predicted or have 1,2,3 or even 4 A*s apply for Oxbridge but there is still differences in ability between people who get those A*s.
 
 
 
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