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Oxford wants more posh pupils?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Richard Knights, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Oxford
    University has acquired an unenviable reputation for being
    horrendously white and upper-class. There's the impression that if
    you don't have a double-barrelled name, can prove lineage going back
    several generations to aristocratic land-owning families and have
    your own personal stable of polo ponies, well, don't bother to apply
    and in any case it needs to be written on calf vellum and personally
    delivered by a faithful retainer.



    In a
    bid to counter this image they have organised 'outreach' events to
    encourage applicants from 'non-traditional backgrounds'. On the
    Oxford web site on the 'widening access' page they proudly state,
    'New data is enabling us to refocus our widening access programmes
    for students from state schools and colleges with low rates of
    applications to the university'.



    I've
    got this picture of crusty old dons forsaking the pleasures of
    sipping sherry in the Senior Common Room and instead supping instant
    coffee from chipped cups in draughty comprehensive staff rooms.



    Somehow
    it didn't quite work out like that... 'The Independent' managed to
    chisel out the facts using the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). More
    than a fifth of the 'outreach' events were at public schools, this
    might be stating the bleeding obvious, but somehow the university was
    oblivious to the fact that this sector, that educates 7% of pupils,
    scooped up 46% of places at Oxford. Westminster (Clegg's alma
    mater) alone managed to acquire 2% of undergraduate admissions.



    Among
    the schools that benefited were (fees in brackets) -



    • Marlborough
      College (£29,310) 12 events

    • St
      Paul's (£25,773) 11 events

    • Rugby
      (£28,000) 10 events

    • Eton
      (£29,862) 9 events

    • Cheltenham
      Ladies' College (£27,735) 8 events

    • Gasworks
      Comprehensive (£0) 0 events


    If that
    wasn't damning enough, this week, Labour MP David Lammy extracted
    more statistics, once again using the Freedom of Information Act. He
    noted that, 'They provided patchy data [and] challenged valid
    requests'. Given that the state invests £440 million a year what did
    they have to hide?



    Twenty
    Oxford and Cambridge colleges made no offers to black candidates for
    courses, one Oxford college (Merton) hadn't admitted a single black
    student in five years. Only one black Britain of Caribbean descent
    was accepted for undergraduate study at Oxford last year. Of the
    1,500 academic and lab staff at Cambridge none are black.



    In 1895
    Thomas Hardy wrote 'Jude the Obscure' about a humble stonemason who
    dreams of studying at Oxford. Last year Oxford's social profile was
    89% upper and middle class and Cambridge slumming it at 87.6% (the
    national average for UK universities is 64.5%). In the last seven
    years no one from Knowsley, Sandwell or Merthyr Tydfil has made it to
    Cambridge. Dream on.


    http://abolishpublicschools.blogspot.com/
     
  2. Oxford
    University has acquired an unenviable reputation for being
    horrendously white and upper-class. There's the impression that if
    you don't have a double-barrelled name, can prove lineage going back
    several generations to aristocratic land-owning families and have
    your own personal stable of polo ponies, well, don't bother to apply
    and in any case it needs to be written on calf vellum and personally
    delivered by a faithful retainer.



    In a
    bid to counter this image they have organised 'outreach' events to
    encourage applicants from 'non-traditional backgrounds'. On the
    Oxford web site on the 'widening access' page they proudly state,
    'New data is enabling us to refocus our widening access programmes
    for students from state schools and colleges with low rates of
    applications to the university'.



    I've
    got this picture of crusty old dons forsaking the pleasures of
    sipping sherry in the Senior Common Room and instead supping instant
    coffee from chipped cups in draughty comprehensive staff rooms.



    Somehow
    it didn't quite work out like that... 'The Independent' managed to
    chisel out the facts using the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). More
    than a fifth of the 'outreach' events were at public schools, this
    might be stating the bleeding obvious, but somehow the university was
    oblivious to the fact that this sector, that educates 7% of pupils,
    scooped up 46% of places at Oxford. Westminster (Clegg's alma
    mater) alone managed to acquire 2% of undergraduate admissions.



    Among
    the schools that benefited were (fees in brackets) -



    • Marlborough
      College (£29,310) 12 events

    • St
      Paul's (£25,773) 11 events

    • Rugby
      (£28,000) 10 events

    • Eton
      (£29,862) 9 events

    • Cheltenham
      Ladies' College (£27,735) 8 events

    • Gasworks
      Comprehensive (£0) 0 events


    If that
    wasn't damning enough, this week, Labour MP David Lammy extracted
    more statistics, once again using the Freedom of Information Act. He
    noted that, 'They provided patchy data [and] challenged valid
    requests'. Given that the state invests £440 million a year what did
    they have to hide?



    Twenty
    Oxford and Cambridge colleges made no offers to black candidates for
    courses, one Oxford college (Merton) hadn't admitted a single black
    student in five years. Only one black Britain of Caribbean descent
    was accepted for undergraduate study at Oxford last year. Of the
    1,500 academic and lab staff at Cambridge none are black.



    In 1895
    Thomas Hardy wrote 'Jude the Obscure' about a humble stonemason who
    dreams of studying at Oxford. Last year Oxford's social profile was
    89% upper and middle class and Cambridge slumming it at 87.6% (the
    national average for UK universities is 64.5%). In the last seven
    years no one from Knowsley, Sandwell or Merthyr Tydfil has made it to
    Cambridge. Dream on.


    http://abolishpublicschools.blogspot.com/
     
  3. Last year I organised an event at Oxford ( a science residential) for students from schools across my LA (mainly comprehensives, one independent) and found them to be very receptive. They didn't charge us anything for the fantastic sessions they provided and we got a reduced rate on accomodation. Perhaps if comprehensive school teachers were more open to their students applying for Oxbridge then we could turn around some of these statistics. Unfortunately many comprehensive school teachers have a kind of inverse snobbery surrounding Oxbridge or have had very little experience of the top class universities themselves so don't have the confidence to advise their students. They can't get in if they don't apply!
     

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