Monday, 14 January 2013

Giving students equal opportunities to reach university is not enough

via Guardian Education news, comment and analysis by Charlotte Leslie

To reach the professions, the less well-off need support to develop vital networking and social skills

Sometimes in politics there’s a tendency for the best of intentions to surreptitiously breed assumptions. So much energy builds up around solving one issue that other problems surrounding it fade into the background, and it becomes easy to assume that everything else is OK. One of these assumptions is about social mobility.

Devastating statistics show that only 16% of students eligible for free school meals go on to university, as opposed to 96% of private school students. Facts such as these are shocking and rightly gather a focus of political will to ensure that children from state schools have an equal opportunity to reach a university that can enable them to fulfil their potential.

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Hazel’s comment:
This piece reminded me, painfully, of the interview for a place on the fast track programme for the Civil Service. I, with many others, was in a waiting room when I was asked by this toff about my university experience.
“I don’t have one, I’m an in-service candidate.”
“How interesting. Which department are you with?
On admitting that I worked in the Employment Exchange in Ramsgate and hearing his drawled, “that’s somewhere on the coast, isn’t it?” I lost any confidence I might have had.
Passed the exam, failed the interview!

The following year (only just under the age-limit) I failed the exam.

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