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Making learning pay off for disadvantaged pupils

One way to help poorer pupils to fulfil their academic potential would be to offer them payments dependent on them passing exams and getting a university degree

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Teachers at a school serving one of our least-advantaged areas were delighted when three female pupils were accepted for a prestigious course at a leading university. The pupils were congratulated and provided with useful advice and best wishes from teachers, who had gone out of their way to give them additional tuition and some after-school homework support.

But the elation was short-lived. Within 10 weeks of starting their courses, all three had dropped out of university. The intensity of study, and culture shock of university life, was just too much. All three settled for low-paid work in ...

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