Discrimination against public school pupils has become “the hatred that dare not speak its name”, Anthony Seldon has said amid claims some parents are withdrawing their children from fee-paying sixth forms to boost their Oxbridge chances. This is from the Telegraph…
The headmaster of Wellington College said public school pupils are being “discriminated against at the final hurdle” when they send off their university applications.
Public “jealousy and hostility” towards independent schools explains why privately educated figures like David Cameron try to “disown” their educational past, he added.
Public school was once seen as the most reliable route into the top universities but this year Cambridge reduced its intake from independent schools by 200 places, with 63 per cent now coming from the state sector.
Many elite institutions across Britain have reportedly agreed to official targets which could see public school pupils turned away in favour of similarly bright state school pupils with lower grades.
It means that while parents would once desperately fight to send their children to the best independent school they could afford, some are now withdrawing them at 16 to avoid tarnishing their application form.
An article to be published in Seven magazine reports that a QC with two daughters at St Mary’s Shaftesbury removed the brighter and sent her to the local state sixth form instead, because he felt it would improve her chance of a place at Oxford or Cambridge.
Dr Seldon claimed there are 62 pupils at Wellington bright enough to get an Oxbridge interview this year, but said he only expects 20 offers of places to come in.
He said: “From our perspective it looks as if some public school students are being discriminated against at the final hurdle. It’s painful because we are seeing some excellent candidates who would go on to get firsts who are not getting offers, about 10 this year.
“Was that different to when I was at Oxford 35 years ago? Yes. I don’t think anyone gave a toss back then where you came from, only that you were good enough to go.”