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More students from state schools admitted to Cambridge

(39 Posts)
savoirfaire Fri 31-May-13 23:07:16

[[ here]

Haven't seen anyone else posted on this yet. This seems like an incredibly leap forward to me - I'm seriously impressed. Shows the access agreement has had an impact IMO (I say this as a privately educated oxbridge-ite). Interested in others' views.

wordfactory Wed 05-Jun-13 10:15:19

I think the difficulty with making all schools excellent is that there is no one definition.

What would make an excellent education for child A, would be a living death for child B.

Speaking to colleagues at university, what they would like to see happen in all schools would be highly beneficial for the few, buit not necessarily conducive to the many.

Wallison Wed 05-Jun-13 12:00:45

I agree with UptheChimney. The problem isn't the proportion of pupils from private schools going to Oxbridge but the fact that there are private schools at all.

Lilymaid Wed 05-Jun-13 12:12:19

I'd be more interested to know if there is an increasing proportion of students coming from backgrounds where there is no previous family engagement in higher education or from state schools that have not previously sent pupils to Oxford/Cambridge.

savoirfaire Wed 05-Jun-13 23:01:37

Good point Lilymaid. These are stats that access departments generally use in my experience so I imagine Cambridge have this information but not sure whether they publish it.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 06-Jun-13 10:17:33

Yes they have this information. They have had it, and been working on access for over 20 years but there hasn't been so much public/media discussion until more recently.

boomting Sat 08-Jun-13 13:02:14

It's unfortunate, but realistically the disproportionate numbers of private and state school pupils getting offers at the best universities is not the fault of the university admissions departments. Indeed, there is very little that they can do about it, because
a) Whilst only 7% of pupils are privately schooled at secondary stage, by sixth form it goes up to 18%. This is partly due to state school students being more likely to drop out of education, and partly because some will transfer to private schools for sixth form (source for stats: )
b) Private schools are invariably selective, and so a far higher proportion of their intake is intellectually capable of getting the grades to go to Oxbridge / RG unis.

creamteas Sat 08-Jun-13 17:10:14

Except of course intellectual capability and A level grades are not the same.

Actually as a university admissions tutor, I would say it is the fault of universities. In many universities there are quite strict rules about how much you can vary entry grades, not because they say much about the applicant but because entry grades are used in league tables.

If league tables stopped using entry grades, my university (and thus me) would be able to make much more use of contextual data than we do at the minute. Thus it is a decision taken by universities primarily for marketing reasons.....

UptheChimney Sat 08-Jun-13 21:43:13

If league tables were banned we could actually admit people we wanted to teach and whom we thought would thrive in our specific courses, and we could teach them in the ways we -- as highly qualified, experienced professionals - think fit.

And pigs might fly.

creamteas Sun 09-Jun-13 08:01:41

It would be great wouldn't it upthechimney.... but it is not likely to happen sad

UptheChimney Sun 09-Jun-13 11:38:14

Oh well, I can dream. And I say that as former HoD and current research professor in two Departments that regularly topped various league tables for their subjects.

boomting Sun 09-Jun-13 15:36:01

Of course A Levels and intelligence are not the same thing, but there is a positive correlation between the two.

With regards to league tables, I'd also love to see them banned. However, that being unrealistic I'd settle for having all applicants understand what they do and do not measure, and their limitations. At the moment we're in a situation where they're stressing because Bristol is two places behind Durham, and they don't understand why the league tables say that, and why it doesn't matter.

UptheChimney Sun 09-Jun-13 19:00:45

What we in university at the coal face teaching Departments find very frustrating is the lack of discrimination by applicants (driven by parents & teachers) about which performance indicators are within the control of actual teaching staff, and which are university or HEFCE (funding body) determined.

And that the figures are at least a year behind.

So my former Department scored high but not top in student satisfaction with teaching, but came out top in one league table because the university had cut quota in that area, and so the SSR (staff-student ratio) look amazing.

My current department is top in student satisfaction, but because our SSR is one of the highest in our discipline (caused by our popularity!) we are at the bottom of the top ten in the discipline.

And so on -- there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Yellowtip Sun 09-Jun-13 22:15:38

UptheChimney can I reassure you that some parents/ students/ teachers couldn't give two hoots about these wholly artificial league tables smile Absolutely didn't enter the equation with the four of my DC who have gone through the process - just not an issue at all.

UptheChimney Mon 10-Jun-13 08:01:50

That's great to hear, yellowtip !

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