What exactly can Harrow tell us about social mobility?

29th January 2010 at 00:00

Young people should certainly not be kept under the illusion that all qualifications are equal and Barnaby Lenon was right to warn schools against short-changing students in this way.

The responsibility for championing academic subjects such as maths, science and languages does not rest solely with schools, however. The best way to ensure that students from disadvantaged backgrounds know the value of different qualifications is for universities and employers to make it much clearer which A-level subjects they favour and to communicate this clearly to pupils.

There is clear evidence that mathematics, for example, increases an individual's lifetime earnings more than any other A-level, yet in terms of UCAS points it is equal. Can this be right?

Once the relative value of different qualifications has been made plain by universities and employers, schools will be less likely to discourage students from pursuing subjects that are perceived as more difficult.

Professor Sir John Holman, Director, National Science Learning Centre, York.

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


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