Academic perils of university quotas

4th August 2000 at 01:00
STEPHEN Jones enjoyed playing with statistics (TES, FE Focus, July 21) to show how quotas could increase the number of undergraduates from state schools. But they were the wrong statistics.

His simplistic argument was "state schools account for 93.1 per cent of the pupils so 93.1 per cent of offers would go to state schools" - followed by the assertion that standards would not be affected.

But at sixth-form level independent schools educate 21 per cent of the total school population. They provide 31 per centof all candidates achieving three or more A grades at A-level and 38 per cent of all A-level A grades.

Furthermore, independent schools account for between 40 and 73 per cent of all A grades in maths, physics, chemistry, biology, history, economics, French, German, classics, music and religious studies. Does he still think universities' academic standards would be unaffected?

David Woodhead

National director, Independent Schools Information Service

35-37 Grosvenor Gardens

London SW1

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