Ditto dear Loulou,
However here is a comment from someone being on the receiving side as an academic at a London University who was also given the responsibility of undergraduate admisions some years back (I will back to this shortly). There is currently some resentment at the presurre exerted by the government on the universities not simply to accept between two equally qualified applicants the one coming from the more deprived area, but rather to also accept a more lowly qualified applicant coming from a deprived area school at the expense of another more highly qualified applicant from a more privildge area or from an independent school. This is the social enginnering that this government has invented instead of trying to fix the quality of state schools in such areas! It just proceeds to undermine the quality of the universties as well!
The barrel of laughs was when I was the admissions tutor way-back during the mid-nineties. I hade no idea about the schools I would see in the students' UCAS forms. I did not know whether they were independent or state or what. Neither did I know anything about the areas and whether they were deprived or not. Hence the only thing I would look at was the GCSE grades, predicted A level grades and reference letter. These applicants literally did receive a totally blind admission process during that period (it made no difference of course as the social engineering policy did not exist then!)
The most hysterical incident of that period was when a disgruntled student phoned me and asked whether the reason why I did not accpet him was that he was black. He was shell shocked when I informed him that I had no idea than he was black as I could neither tell from his name nor for that matter form his voice on the phone!! These were my early days in this country and still to this day I can not distinguish accents, except if someone is Scottish! I then added that if he had had the right qualifications(which he did not) I would have taken him even if he was from Mars and his skin was polca dot. I meant it and would still say the same today.
Thank you Chad. I remember reading in the papers a couple of years back about SATS results and how many of the schools in middle class areas of London did better than schools in socially deprived areas. This was primarily because of tutoring/parental support aka DIY. ie. if little Johnny looked like he was only going to achieve level 4's Mr and Mrs middle class had the ability or resources to ensure he achieved level 5's. The papers suggestion was to take SATS league tables with a pinch of salt. I suppose this is why universities value an A grade from an 'underachieving' school more than an A grade from a top of the tables school.
I guess from an exam point of view I need to look towards maximum SATS results but I wonder sometimes if my child gets good results because he truly is very bright (yes I would like to think so) or because of the support I give at home.