‘Cambridge admission tests privilege pupils in independent sector’

The TES is reporting warnings that selective schools, with large numbers of Cambridge applicants, will use their experience to prepare for their new tests more rapidly.

Barnaby Lenon, who also chairs the London Academy of Excellence, a selective state sixth form supported by leading private schools, told TES that selective schools…  would quickly become good at preparing…for the tests, which were announced last month and will be sat for the first time next year.

“[Indpendent schools] will have many more students apply to Cambridge, therefore will build up experience of the Cambridge tests more rapidly,” he said. “There’s a difference between a school that has 50 or 60 applicants a year and a school that may have two or three.”

Mr Lenon… urged state schools to start tutoring their brightest pupils in preparation for them – despite the university’s insistence that no tutoring is required.

“The most important thing is for schools to realise that it is important for students to prepare for these tests,” he said. “It’s difficult for schools to fit in time for tutoring, but they should do it…I believe all tests can be prepared for, to some degree.”…

But a spokesman for the university said: “…No advance preparation will be needed, other than revision of material already being studied at school, and only where indicated for specific courses…”

More at Private schools chief: Cambridge admission tests will privilege pupils in the independent sector 


Fascinating – who do you think has it right here: Barnaby Lenon suggesting independent schools will prepare their students (and benefit from it) or Cambridge suggesting additional preparation is not needed?

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Categories: Higher Education, Private Schools and Secondary.


  1. HeadDurham

    SchoolsImprove no such thing as the uncoachable test. Wait for private tutor industry to latch on too.

  2. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove from my experience coaching ensures all course covered early. Other schls have gaps – issue at Oxbridge interviews as well

  3. Of course independent schools will latch on to coaching for Cambridge – the aim of these schools has often been to secure a place at Oxbridge using all means.  But the independent school advantage doesn’t last – state school pupils outperform their equally-qualified peers from private schools at universities overall, and at Oxford and Cambridge it makes no difference where pupils were educated.
    That said, state pupils have to be accepted in Oxbridge if they are to perform equally as well and privately-educated pupils.  That’s the stumbling block.

  4. TW

    “who do you think has it right here: Barnaby Lenon suggesting independent schools will prepare their students (and benefit from it) or Cambridge suggesting additional preparation is not needed?”

    Seems like a choice between those who admit benefiting from loaded dice and those claiming innocence. If all that time and money private schools expend on coaching is for nothing perhaps rich parents should stop paying for it.

  5. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove This system is so unhealthy and so unfair. The power rests with Oxbridge and the HE sector to make it fairer.

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