TES is reporting that all schools – regardless of sector – should ask if they are doing enough to get pupils into Oxbridge, argues this head.
Independent schools will spend time and resources on the university application process, but surely it is the responsibility of all schools to prepare pupils for entry to their chosen university, including encouraging our brightest to aspire to the best universities in the country?
It was reported last week that successful Oxbridge applications from just eight “top independent schools” were greater than three-quarters of all maintained schools in the UK.
University of Oxford recognises that it could do more to attract applications from the maintained sector – a move which has been widely welcomed. However, a fact frequently overlooked in the rush to “diss” private education is that many hundreds of children from limited or average financial backgrounds attend independent schools having gained bursaries and/or scholarships.
Across the UK, annual fee assistance amounts to over £378 million, representing 40,402 pupils, or 7.6 per cent of all independently educated pupils.
Having a larger percentage of independent school pupils gaining places on Oxbridge courses may provide an opportunity to have a bash at the sector, but it should also pose the question of why Oxford and Cambridge are not broader in their intake. The industry needs to look in on itself and work to encourage more maintained schools to attempt the seemingly unassailable mountain that is the Oxbridge application process.
If UK plc wishes to continue to be seen as a globally leading educational brand, we need to provide the very material with which it can work – and it takes a lot of layers to produce a top-quality fabric.
Please tell us thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Emma
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