Foggy funding

4th May 2007 at 01:00
I am a lecturer in further education and am sure TES readers will appreciate that I am not too well-paid. Last year, I was somewhat annoyed that my daughter failed to receive an education maintenance allowance while many of her friends who appear to have similar lifestyles do receive it and like to push the fact under her nose.

This year, my daughter found a higher education taster course that really appealed to her and she obtained the application form. Sadly, she was not permitted to take up the course because her father has a degree.

We have since been looking at higher education institutions, only to find that some of them will not even consider her on the grounds that she worked hard at her GCSEs and got good grades. She also chose to switch to a local grammar school to study for her A-levels in the hope that this would be a positive move. In hindsight it may have been a wrong move. Bristol university seems to be one of a growing number of universities to rule out applicants with such a background.

We turned to look across the water to Cardiff. Welsh students get additional financial support to reduce fees, no doubt to keep their brains in Wales. Fair enough. Read a little further and you find that the same fee reduction applies to all other European countries, except other parts of Britain.

Are the English that bad? This is surely blatant discrimination. Come on, Wales - remember where much of your finance comes from. Middle-class working families who have studied hard, worked hard and not needed to rely on financial benefits really are being penalised.

Why should my children be punished because I have done what I considered would be good for me and the nation?

It's not all doom and gloom. Three cheers for the University of Leicester, which apparently has some departments that offer additional funding to support students with exceptional A-level grades.

Andrew Walker. Newton Abbot, Devon

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