Dreaming spires and extreme reactions

15th July 2011 at 01:00

The Sutton Trust's research into state-school access to higher education is based on a number of false premises ("State pupils with right grades miss out on top universities," 8 July).

First, it equates a large sixth-form college like Hills Road with much smaller school sixth-forms. Moreover, since most of Hills Road's students come from local state schools with no sixth-form of their own, its success in getting students into Oxbridge is as much a tribute to the state schools as it is to the college.

More important is the assumption on which the report is based, namely that Oxbridge entry represents the height of academic achievement. Oxford and Cambridge have high academic standards, and a style of learning and living that suits some people but has never been right for all.

We spend half our time moaning when people don't get into Oxbridge and the other half sneering when they do. It is crazy to place all our hopes for our brightest students on just two universities. We should broaden our horizons, recognise that young people have a wide range of excellent institutions open to them, and stop making such a fetish of Oxbridge entry.

Dr Sean Lang, Senior lecturer in history, Anglia Ruskin University.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now