Sunday, 5 December 2010

Universities – state pupils perform better

Pupils from comprehensives schools gain higher university degrees than pupils from public or grammar schools. That's according to research by the National Foundation for Educational Research. They compared 8,000 pupils with similar 'A'-level results over the course of five years.

Comprehensive pupils with grades BBB gained equal degree passes to public or grammar school pupils with 2 As and a B. Where both study groups had similar 'A'-level results the comprehensive pupils gained a higher degree. The effect was found across all degree classes awarded in 2009.

Some public schools have larger sixth forms and are able to employ more specialist teachers, they also benefit from having smaller classes. They might also be able to offer a wider range of 'A'-level choices. There are long established links between the most expensive public schools and Oxford and Cambridge.

Interesting to see how the public school educated Cabinet is systematically abolishing those organisations that did attempt to assist pupils from poorer backgrounds gaining a University place – the culling of Aim Higher. Also the Educational Maintenance Allowance is being abolished in 2011. Finally there is the question of higher tuition fees which will deter students from poorer families. We'll be back to Brideshead Revisited where only students with names like Sebastian, Anthony or Charles could afford to attend university.

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