Admissions policy must be reviewed

10th December 2010 at 00:00

I am delighted that Brian Cooklin has raised the serious concern of secondary headteachers regarding Glasgow University's decision to dramatically "raise the bar" for entrance in 2011 (TESS, November 5).

I was astounded by the assertion by vice-principal Coton that he had received "very positive feedback from heads." All the headteachers I have spoken to regarding this issue have expressed their dismay about the very negative impact this move has had on many S6 students who believed their efforts to achieve 3As and 2Bs would gain them entry to arts or social science courses at the university.

I was also extremely perplexed by the conversation I had with one of the admissions team at Glasgow University when I enquired about the situation facing some of my S6 students.

I quoted the example of a student who was applying for entry in 2011 for a joint English and politics course and who had achieved 3As in and 2Bs in her Highers. I went on to explain that, in S6, she was taking Advanced Highers in English and modern studies, and Highers in psychology and art amp; design.

The admissions officer asked: "Why is she taking Advanced Highers in English and modern studies?" More than a little surprised by his question, I said it was because she was planning to study English and politics, to which he replied: "The Advanced Highers will not count for admission; can she not drop them and take some other Highers?"

Surely this contradiction between admissions policy and the appropriate academic school course for a prospective undergraduate needs to be challenged. I am certain that the lecturers in the university departments concerned recognise the considerable benefit if their students have studied and achieved at Advanced Higher level. I cannot believe that they can be happy with an admissions policy which discourages this.

I sincerely hope Glasgow University takes cognisance of the frustration felt by prospective students, their teachers and parents, and reviews its ill-conceived policy.

Rory Mackenzie, headteacher, Balerno High School, Edinburgh.

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