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Lord Mandelson to favour poor pupils

(62 Posts)
LeninGrad Sun 09-Aug-09 11:52:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 11:57:59

At St George's Medical school 'candidates can receive offers of two Bs and a C if they outperform their school average by 60%. This favours bright pupils at low-performing schools', according to that article.

Seems fair enough to me. A kid who achieves BBC at a crappy school is far more able than a kid who get AAA at a school that is attuned to getting its pupils into top universities.

<Waits for squeals of outraged protest from people who think they are buying the right for their precious offspring to get into Oxbridge.>

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 11:59:05

Actually, to be fair, that should have been 'just as able'.

ScummyMummy Sun 09-Aug-09 11:59:51

Sounds very fair to me.

juuule Sun 09-Aug-09 12:01:42

But how would that work?

If you need to have a certain level of knowledge to be able to access a course of study and you fall below that level, does the course of study have to be pitched at a lower level to bring you up to speed?

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 12:17:01

You don't necessarily need a certain body of knowledge from your A-levels - depends on the course. And even if you do, there's not much difference between A, B, and C in terms of relevance to undergraduate syllabus.

St Georges was, I think, the first to launch a compressed medical degree for mature students. IIRC it takes four years, not five.

juuule Sun 09-Aug-09 12:35:57

So would this be based on the type of school they come from or means tested?

Would it depend on whether your school was crappy or your parent's income?/

If your parent's income, does that mean that children who go to the poorer schools and gained AAA would be passed over in favour of those with lower results whose parent's income was lower.

I think a better way to redress the balance would be to improve schools so that everyone got an opportunity to gain the higher grades. Otherwise what's the point of the exam system?

abraid Sun 09-Aug-09 12:43:11

I 'buy' my children's education at selective private schools.

I don't mind if bright but poor children take university places. Why should I? They're the future consultants and lawyers and I will probably need them at some point.

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 15:51:26

Glad to hear it, abraid. But there have been endless threads on here where people have been very threatened by the idea that bright kids from deprived areas might be given a fair chance.

Juule, type of school I think.

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 16:18:14

The reason that I didnt goto Uni at 18 was financial,sameaswhy my sister dropped out afte 2 years (thankfully got her HND)

I am firmly on the belief that decent measn tested funding is key, however I think there is anothr route also-

back home, we have disparity: kids come randomly from wither the well off villages or the poor town that is largely constructed of estates on the deprivation index. There is no disparity of A level education though, as the schools don't have sicth forms, all kids continuing after 16 go to a fab tertiary colleges that caters for everything from Oxbridge candidacy to Sn life skills,withe verything in between (construction, mechanics,business)- and it does it well.

There may be some food for thought there, I think.

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 16:33:48

Sounds like it, Peachy - is this in the UK?

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 18:19:00

Yep, in Somerset (hence the espensive villages combined with poor estates in Bridgwater)

The college used to get rave reviews as well, at one point was second in the Country though don't now where it is atm

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 18:20:57

Just asking as you said 'back home'. Wonder if any policy wonks or anyone (not ours, obv.!) have looked at Somerset?

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 18:25:18

We emigrated Edam- SE Wales whole different palce dontcha know wink

Well, it is as far as value for money foes- FAR better here!

poppy34 Sun 09-Aug-09 18:27:28

Yes something should be done but this seems simplistic- times editorial had better suggestions on what to do

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 18:27:54

ah, you are an expat in Wales!

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 18:29:24


<<grabs ExpatIS's hand for a twirl>>

<gets thumped by ExPat for presuming the right>>


edam Sun 09-Aug-09 18:30:44


stuffitlllama Sun 09-Aug-09 18:31:43

why is this v v acceptable to people but not grammars/assisted places

what's the difference -- it's basically to bring poor bright children up and away

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 18:44:48

Grammars don't always bring poor people up though do they? kids self exclude to be with the mates or are excluded by things such as travel and costs of the extras that after all make grammar the experience it is.

It's a great many years ago but dad was given a Grammar place but as the 15th of 16 children Nan said no as she couldn't afford the uniform, and it wasn't fair on his siblings.

rather than being selective (another argument for that is kids like me who were alte developers) we need to bring all the kids into the same high level of education.

I also don't like segregation which is an unintentional effect of selective schooling. The only hope of children choosing to take more vocational courses ever being seen as on a par with their peers (and after all bright kids are needed in those fields) is if the children are educated on the same premises, not bright kids that way, the rest of you over there

stuffitlllama Sun 09-Aug-09 19:07:29

Peachy I agree, grammars were quite an effective way of bringing poor people up in their time.

It doesn't always work now because money comes into the equation much sooner with tutors and prep schools to enable wealthier children to do better.

But that's partly because there are so few grammars. However it does still work sometimes, I know children of poor families at grammars and it will and has lifted them.

If children self exclude then that's not the fault of the system and would be less of an issue if there were more of them -- same with the travel.

Children can't all be brought to the same level of education. The same high level of teaching and facilities should be offered to them, but they will not all achieve it.

I don't think this is a way of giving poor kids a leg up: it's a way of keeping them off the unemployment figures.

There are too many students at university already who are wasted there. I think one of mine definitely isn't suited but will have to go -- I can't see how he'll get a decent job at sixteen or eighteen otherwise.

On the other hand I do deplore the notion that the children of wealthier parents get better grades because of their money and their position: they have to work extremely hard too. It does those children a disservice: the dimmer kids who've worked their socks off but are knocked out of the way by policy. That sort of fulfils a feeling of redress and revenge even but doesn't make it right.

No discrimination is good. I have mixed feelings about this.

edam Sun 09-Aug-09 20:25:10

I don't think peachy was saying grammars were an effective way to give bright working class kids a way out.

Anyway, my understanding is grammars helped a very few working class kids but were far from an engine of social mobility. Only a minority of children went to grammars in the first place, and many of that minority were middle class.

Both my parents went to grammars and it did lift my mother out of the restrictions her parents faced. She was a shoemaker's daughter and went to a direct grant school (i.e. private but took a few kids via 11+) with the daughters of doctors, lawyers, MPs, millionairs...

But the huge majority of working class kids went to secondary moderns (some went to technical schools which my mother says were jolly good and are always forgotten in this debate).

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 21:02:03

No, I was saying that my experience is the reverse- plenty of kids like dad were denied places at Grammar becuase of financial factors such as the cost of uniform.

PeachyLaPeche Sun 09-Aug-09 21:05:48

'Children can't all be brought to the same level of education. The same high level of teaching and facilities should be offered to them, but they will not all achieve it.'

That depends entirely on where you set the barr, no?

If you set it at a degree thena bsolutely true, if you set it at achieving firstly absic literacy skills and then the qualifications for their chosen career then very few will not hit it if given a good stab at it.

DS1 fotr example- Uni?Unlikely, he's bright enpugh but the other related skills are too poor. His chosen carer? (wants to be a stage make up artist)? I think he would do very well at it indeed (I trained in make up years ago and DH is doing a stage lighting course so between us we should manage it LOL)

Expecting children to all go to Uni sets them up to fail, expecting them to get enough schooling to have a degree of conotrol over their lives is however a much mroe laudable aim and SN / severely EBD kids sometimes excepted, usually doable.

stuffitlllama Mon 10-Aug-09 06:38:56

Sorry I misunderstood. My experience is completely the opposite of yours on both mine and dh's side. I'm on the fence on this whole thing.

Out of interest, my one that I think is not suited to uni has the same interests as yours and your dh. I just wish it were possible (as in the "olden days"!) to get a lowly job and work your way up with training on the job, if you know what I mean. In the way that journos used to start with covereing school fetes and making tea but now need a degree and a specialised course.

Oh well. Think I live in a dream world sometimes.

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