State school pupils missing out on top university places

State school students are less likely to apply and 20 per cent less likely to be accepted into Britain’s leading Universities than their private school counterparts, according to a new study by Durham University.

State school students are less likely to apply and 20 per cent less likely to be accepted into Britain’s leading Universities than their private school counterparts, according to a new study by Durham University.

The research, conducted by Dr Vikki Boliver, analysed the success rate of 49,000 candidates in England from 1996 – 2006, and concluded that state school pupils had to get up to two A-level grades higher than independent school students to be offered a place in a Russell Group university.

It seemingly quashes parents worry that moving their children into fee-paying schools sets them at a disadvantage in the eyes of University admissions.

The report attributed blame to the universities application process. It stated that the universities’ system of accepting students on their predicted grades rather than their actual results unfairly benefited those from private schools.

“It is a shame that recent proposals for a post-qualification application system have been opposed by the Russell Group” the report said, as evidence suggested that it would be “a good deal fairer”.

The research also claimed that universities “unfairly disadvantage applicants from ethnic minorities”, and found that applicants from Caribbean, African, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds were a third less likely to be offered a place at a Russell Group University when compared to their white counterparts.

Boliver states that the “findings highlight the inadequacy of ‘fair access’ policies which focus almost exclusively on eliminating barriers to university application”. She encouraged “all Russell Group universities to scrutinise their admissions policies and practices carefully for possible sources of bias”.

Dr Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, acknowledged that universities “had to work hard to encourage students from a wide range of backgrounds to apply to them”. She argued, however, that “many good students are simply not getting the right advice and guidance on which advanced level subjects will qualify them for their chosen course”.

Dr Vikki Boliver’s findings will be presented at a Higher Education Academy conference today and published in the British Journal of Sociology in June.

Last week Left Foot Forward published a graph describing the fall in the number of state school applicants to Russell Group universities.

state school graph

 

 

17 Responses to “State school pupils missing out on top university places”

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    Surely the real scandal has been the severe lack of tradesmen in recent years, hence remaining ones making bigger profits, with foreign ones brought in to fill some gaps. In recent years, the Polish plumber figure has become cliche.

    Labour especially wanted more kids at uni, and got them. It’s standard practice for kids to believe a full and proper education trail leads from school, through college and up to uni. Kids have to want to be technical to even be advised, as I found when I was still in education.

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