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Dreaming spires and extreme reactions

Teachers tend to recommend to their students universities that they themselves know well. From the staff lists on the websites of the well-known elite schools, you can see that the majority of teachers went to Oxbridge and a handful of other leading institutions - so guess where they point their students.

On several occasions I have heard of highly gifted students from maintained schools not applying to Oxford and Cambridge because teachers said they were stuffy and full of posh people. Until we can get teachers to feel more confident about encouraging the talented towards our leading universities, we are unlikely to address what is a national scandal.

Fergal Roche, Managing director, Ten Professional Support; chair, Ten Group Development Board.

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