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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 11:56 am 
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As you know, thanks to Tristram Hunt's speech on private schools, the topic of independent schools and social mobility once again became news for the past few days.

In this thread, I want to focus on one particular angle: Would your children be discriminated against in their Oxbridge applications, if they study at a private or grammar school. At first, this question may be surprising as about half of the Oxbridge intake are from the independent sector, and I suppose many children from grammar schools also do well. So why should one be worried?

Because on the Telegraph yesterday, the writer Allison Pearson told this story:

" The other night, I went to a feast at a Cambridge college. The hall thrummed with the grave rumble of mighty brains and the crystal and silverware sparkled in the candlelight. I asked my learned neighbour how the college was doing raising the number of students from comprehensive schools. His reply was shocking. So desperate was the college to improve its ratio of state-school undergraduates that it had actually started accepting some kids with Bs, and even Cs, at A-level.

These youngsters arrived in Cambridge grossly unprepared and were promptly sent for a year, at the college’s expense, to a local sixth-form crammer where they would be taught to write essays and to generally master all the things that privately educated high-fliers can do by the age of 16.

As a Comp Kid myself, I suppose I should have welcomed the news, but I was angry. Of course, it was very decent of the college to bend over backwards to accommodate applicants who hadn’t made the grade, but why couldn’t bright children from backgrounds like mine count on their secondary school to educate them properly in the first place?

How humiliating that poorer kids were now admitted on “potential”, rather than knowledge and flair. I was staggered that a Cambridge college, which exists to stretch minds of the highest calibre, was paying for teenagers to be taught the basics to compensate for a comprehensive system which has never matched the thorough intellectual grounding offered by grammar schools.

This country, which once educated boys and girls in those grammars to the highest level – far better than many of the fanciest private schools – was now engaged in covert affirmative action, to meet fair-access targets. What other choice was there? "

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/se ... e-top.html

I suppose this anecdote is true. Otherwise, Cambridge would sue her for libel. And it means the Oxbridge dons would be likely to reject some children from the independent or grammar schools to welcome children from state schools, even though their exam results are not as good.

But how will you know if this unfortunate fate will fall on your children? Is there any indication to reasonably predict the outcome?
Thank you


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:00 pm 
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Grammar schools are state school not privare schools ...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
Grammar schools are state school not privare schools ...


I know.

However, you may be aware the political establishment do not like grammar (selective) schools. Therefore we have the difficulties of opening grammars in Kent.

And if you watch this clip, Ed Miliband makes clear that he hates grammar schools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngHEs9g3UvQ

So both parties make clear they don't see grammars as the same as other comprehensive schools. I don't read the government policies for universities closely yet. But I suspect they would send a political message to Oxbridge and other universities, "Don't think grammars are the same as comprehensives!"


Regards,


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:45 pm 
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There are lots of state school students applying to Oxbridge with a clutch of A stars at GCSE and A's at AS. So why would Oxbridge take state school students with B's and C's? Why would they pay for any students to go for extra help elsewhere where they have so many wanting to get into each course? Just because Cambridge have not responded does not mean it is actually true. I know a student with 4 A's at AS who was discouraged from applying to Cambridge by his grammar school as his UMS points were not high enough. They knew that the academic pool was so high that his totals were not enough for a place. So the concept of students being offered places on B's and C's and then going to off to crammer school to keep up just does not fit. Perhaps those with dc's at Oxbridge could comment about the existence of students at Oxbridge on B's and C's at A level. DG


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:59 pm 
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My DD has just started at Cambridge. From a state school, and from an area of deprivation.
Her offer was a*aa and she had to get it! after of course 2 academic interviews, an essay test at the college and work sent into the college.
All of her compatriots in her subject have had the same minimum offer, all of the ones she knows exceeded the offer.
She knows of no one who has got in and been sent off, and no one with B or C's.
I have no problem in theory with positive discrimination but would have thought there are enough DC in my daughters position to totally exclude the need for this kind described.
May I ask which college as I have a lot of contacts in a lot of them......


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:08 pm 
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Hi

My DD has now just started at oxford from a comprehensive , a good comprehensive but a comprehensive none the less with approx 70% a*-c 4 GCSE (or whatever the latest thing is). You may find her experience iteresting for this thread ;

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=35579

The main message we had from oxford admissions and also from cambridge at a recent 'what a levels to choose' day relevant to this thread was that:

-they do look at your A level results in context so if your school has a 50% 3 A*'s at alevel stats and you are predicted AAA* then they will look on you less favourably than if your school averages BBB at alevel and you are predicted AAA* .
-my dd's experience now that she is there is that there is little to choose between state and private school kids academically, the private school kids in her tutorials are more confident can blag a bit better and their essays are better structured but they are certainly not smarter and she is better at independent working and more focused.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:17 pm 
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The crux of Allison's article is whether admissions should be done on the basis of attainment to date or potential. Oxbridge have a different entrance process to most universities in that neither university selects purely based on UCAS information - they set their own tests, and after screening, their own interviews. They also have the UCAS forms of course, as well as publicly held data on the schools. And finally any school is able to support the work of a pupil by sending in an additional report (I think it is something on the lines of a "statement of extenuating circumstances").

Both universities are over subscribed with excellent candidates and most applicants get rejected. Off the top of my head well over half and probably around two thirds of Oxbridge candidates from Eton and Winchester College get rejected each year.

There is no hint in that article that the comprehensive pupils have less potential that their privately educated peers. And I suspect that very few have a B or a C in the subject that they are studying at Oxbridge. The horror story of being sent to the 6th form college for a year is a bit overstated. Students may have to do weekly catchup sessions for the first year in areas of weakness - that is common to many of the subjects at Oxford, and certainly isn't just for comprehensive students. They really do encourage independent learning and it doesn't suit everyone. Many of the students studying Classics at Oxford have to take an A level Greek course in their first term (not even year!) because so few schools in the country offer it. I haven't studied the degree outcomes between those who have and those who haven't, but I suspect that the difference is pretty marginal. Equally for maths, people will have studied different maths and further maths syllabuses so people may have to catch up.

This version of the truth is less exciting of course, but then I'm not being paid to write an entertaining piece for the Telegraph.

I am an Oxford graduate with a D in A level Chemistry. My offer from Oxford was for 2 EEs. I certainly wasn't the only student without all As (by some way).


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:19 pm 
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EE offers from Oxbridge disappeared a long time ago ...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:27 pm 
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Your DC is in year 1 - everything will be different by the time they are applying to Oxbridge.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Deleted by user.


Last edited by Ladymuck on Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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