Do not leave access to top universities to chance

30th May 2008 at 01:00
Wendy Pitt draws attention to the Sutton Trust's report Primed for Success? in last week's TESS
Wendy Pitt draws attention to the Sutton Trust's report Primed for Success? in last week's TESS. Ministers, local authorities and HMIE have to recognise that it is not acceptable that pupils applying for university from the state sector are less well prepared than those from the private sector.

The report starts out by drawing attention, in the executive summary, to the educational privilege gained and perpetuated by pupils from the private and selective sectors of education. A greater emphasis should be placed on widening access to the "top universities", not just to increasing the numbers attending universities.

It also highlights how some non-selective schools in the state sector are successful at getting their S6 pupils into the Russell Group of universities. The policy implications cover six areas which need to be addressed in a much more strategic manner.

To ensure a level playing field between state schools and the privateselective sector, these implications - some Ms Pitt mentions - must be acted on, or much of the effort of schools in relation to improved education standards at all levels will be wasted.

The private sector does not leave entrance to the "top universities" to chance, so why should the state sector in Scotland?

James Waugh, Nether Curry Crescent, Edinburgh.

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