Click here to skip to content

Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2000): Education - UK - Higher

A - LEVEL PLAYING FIELDS

P. Lampl

Guardian, June 5th 2000, p. 18

Recommends a range of measures to improve access to elite universities for state school students. These include introduction of aptitude tests to help identify potential candidates who may be under achieving academically; appointment of talent scouts; and expansion of Summer Schools for students from deprived areas.

AMERICAN-STYLE APTITUDE TESTS 'DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WORKING-CLASS PUPILS'

J. Judd

Independent, July 3rd 2000, p.6

Government advisers at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, have found that scholastic aptitude tests (SATS) may not identify talented working class students who are not well prepared for conventional A-levels by mediocre state schools. SATs may be more effective in revealing the potential of middle-class white pupils who have been coached than working class students.

'ASSISTED PLACES' FOR ELITE MEDICAL SCHOOLS

B. Russell and P. Waugh

Independent, June 6th 2000, p. 1

The Higher Education Funding Council will pay for extra places at elite medical schools to be reserved for bright students from deprived areas.

ENTRY TO LEADING UNIVERSITIES

Sutton Trust

London: 2000

The Trust has analysed access to the top 13 universities from statistics published by the Higher Education Funding Council. This analysis shows that children from independent schools account for 7% of the school population and for 39% of entry to top universities. Children from less affluent social classes account for 50% of the school population and only 13% of entry to top universities, and children who live in poor areas account for 33% of the population but only 6% of top university entry. In order to redress the balance, the Trust recommends that A-level results should be available before university admissions decisions are made, that aptitude tests should be introduced and used in conjunction with A-level results and that staff should be recruited to "talent spot" promising students.

FEE - PAYING SCHOOLS HIT AT NEPOTISM CLAIMS

J. Kelly

Financial Times, June 29th 2000, p. 2

Heads from two leading independent schools have hit back at government claims that their pupils were obtaining places at elite universities because of the "old school tie" network. They argue that their pupils got in because they got the best grades in difficult A-level subjects such as physics, chemistry, economics and maths.

(See also Times, June 29th 2000, p.9: Independent, June 29th 2000, p. 13)

MIDDLE CLASS STUDENTS FACE HUGE FEE RISE

D. Charter

Times May 31st 2000, p. 1

Reports proposals for the introduction of an American-style funding system for universities. Tuition fees of up to £6000 a year might be charged. Students judged unable to pay would be subsidised by bursaries. Income generated from fees would be used to top up inadequate government funding and would be channelled into improving facilities and attracting top-calibre academics.

OUR UNIVERSITIES HAVE TO BREAK FREE

R. Skidelsky

Daily Telegraph, June 6th 2000, p. 24

Argues in favour of universities escaping from state control by becoming self-financing, getting the bulk of their income from corporate and private donations and student fees.

PRESCOTT'S OXBRIDGE ULTIMATUM

R. Watson

Times, May 30th 2000, p. 1

Reports that elite universities will face cash penalties unless they do more to admit state school pupils. They will be expected to take steps such as setting up twinning arrangements with state schools and running summer schools to help gifted pupils from poor backgrounds in order to increase their intake from state schools.

(See also Independent, May 30th 2000, p. 3; Daily Telegraph, May 30th 2000, p. 1 & 22)

REVEALED : OXBRIDGE PUBLIC SCHOOL LINKS

F. Abrams

Independent, June 12th 2000, p. 1 & 4

Research by the Independent shows that among the heads of 57 Oxford and Cambridge colleges recruiting undergraduates, 25 currently sit as governors of fee-paying schools or hold other roles that entail regular visits. This lends weight to recent suggestions that Britain's elite universities are biased against state school pupils.

TARGETS ON ADMISSIONS 'COULD WELL BE ILLEGAL'

P. Foster

Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2000, p. 4

Any government attempts to penalise universities which failed to recruit enough students from disadvantaged backgrounds would be illegal under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

UNIVERSITIES TOLD TO CHARGE £50,000 FOR A DEGREE

L. E. Major and W. Woodward

Guardian, July 3rd 2000, p. 1+2

A report prepared for the Russell group of 19 leading universities calls for higher education institutions to be freed from state control so that they can set their own tuition fees. Extra fees paid by the rich would be used to fund scholarships for the poor.

(See also Financial Times, July 6th 2000; p. 6, Independent, July 6th 2000, p. 1; Guardian , July 7th 2000 p. 9; Times, July 7th 2000, p. 14; Financial Times, July 7th 2000, p. 6; Daily Telegraph, July 7th 2000, p. 9)

WE PARENTS ARE WELL SCHOOLED IN CLASS WARFARE

T. Utley

Daily Telegraph, May 31st 2000, p. 24

Attacks government pressure on universities to discriminate in favour of applicants from state schools. Instead of penalising private school pupils, government should concentrate on improving state schools.

WHEN WILL UNIVERSITIES STOP BEING PART OF THE WELFARE STATE

P. Minford

Daily Telegraph, June 26th 2000, p. 23

Argues that widening access to higher education has adversely affected quality. Because universities are dependent on government funding their autonomy has been eroded and they have become subject to political interference. Calls for universities to be allowed to charge economic fees to cut their dependence on the Treasury and to allow them to control their own demand and choose their own position on the quality spectrum.

WHY ELITISM IS GOOD NEWS FOR THE MASSES

A. Kaletsky

Times, June 1st 2000, p. 22

Argues that government pressure on the elite universities to discriminate in favour of state school applicants may alienate the middle classes. These may then come to support an American-style privatisation of higher education and rebel against paying high taxes to maintain a welfare state from which they do not benefit.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web