Access to university

Record numbers of state school pupils offered Oxford places | Education

State school pupils have won nearly 70% of Oxford University’s undergraduate places next year, a record level that represents a remarkable turnaround in the university’s intake over the last five years. Oxford announced that 69% of the offers it made this week were to British students from state schools or colleges for courses starting in October 2020, of a total of 3,909 sent to British and international applicants. Five years ago, state school applicants to Oxford received just 56% of…

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US entrepreneur sets up Oxford scholarship for black UK students | Education

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur is to fund Oxford university’s first dedicated scholarship for disadvantaged black British students, the university has announced. Arlan Hamilton, the founder of Backstage Capital, which specialises in supporting startups by overlooked groups, is to donate more than £200,000 to establish the fund and pay the tuition fees and living expenses for a three-year undergraduate degree. The Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims scholarship, named in part as a living tribute to Hamilton’s mother, will be open…

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Oxford and Cambridge universities fail to raise UK student numbers | Education

Oxford and Cambridge universities are teaching nearly 1,000 fewer British undergraduates than they were five years ago, despite spending millions of pounds on programmes designed to widen participation and improve access for disadvantaged UK applicants. Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency have shown that Oxford and Cambridge are almost alone among the competitive British universities in failing to expand their intake of domestic undergraduates while slowly increasing the proportion of sought-after places going to EU and international students. But…

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‘Symbolically posh’ Bristol University expanding to wrong side of tracks | Education

In the well-heeled district of Clifton in Bristol, with its Georgian crescents and French brasseries, 100% of school leavers go to university. Yet in the southern suburb of Hartcliffe, the figures are the lowest in the country: only 8.6% make it there. This is the divided face of Brexit Britain. Bristol University, part of the Russell Group and a favourite among private school students, has long been at the privileged heart of Clifton. But it has radical plans to pull…

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‘Stormzy effect’: record number of black Britons studying at Cambridge | Education

The “Stormzy effect” has helped inspire record numbers of black British students to study at the University of Cambridge, following the musician’s high-profile backing of scholarships for black students at the institution. Cambridge said 91 black British students had been admitted as first-year undergraduates at the start of the academic year, an increase of nearly 50% compared with last year’s 61 students. It takes the total number of black undergraduates studying at Cambridge above 200 for the first time. Last…

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The strange dialect of an Oxbridge elite

Stan Godfrey and Ivor Morgan discuss how upper class patois can be baffling to those from different backgrounds Daniella Adeluwoye’s piece (At Cambridge I learned class still matters, Journal, 24 September) reminded me of when, 40 years ago, living in a pit village, I took exams to join the civil service fast stream. The exam paper had a paragraph explaining that you were to write for someone who was “a Senior Wrangler at Cambridge”. I hadn’t a clue why it…

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Oxford makes progress on diversity – but too slowly, says university head | Education

The vice-chancellor of Oxford University has said her institution’s progress in tackling inequality and disadvantage remains slow, despite figures that show record numbers of women, state-educated pupils and students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds were admitted last year. The proportion of students from UK state schools rose above 60% for the first time, and more women than men were admitted for the second year in a row. A record number of undergraduates with disabilities also joined the university. The…

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For poor children, lunch is a rushed butty. For the rich, it’s orchestra and standup | Laura McInerney | Education

There was justifiable outrage recently when the headteacher of £12,000-a-term Stowe School complained that “social engineering” meant Oxford and Cambridge universities were taking fewer kids from private schools. Schools are social engineering factories; it’s what they are supposed to do. They take children and batch-improve them so they are ready to join society as adults. And as we all know, it is state school pupils who usually battle against the well-oiled social engineering of the rich. A new example of…

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Calls for private school head’s sacking for ‘tasteless Holocaust analogy’ | Education

It was Stowe’s first headmaster, JF Roxburgh, who suggested the school should aspire to produce students who would prove “acceptable at a dance and invaluable at a shipwreck”. On Saturday, though, the current head expressed fears that these days, his charges were more likely to find themselves victims of social engineering, which he equated with antisemitism. In explosive comments about attempts by Oxbridge to raise admissions from state schools, Anthony Wallersteiner likened the treatment of private school pupils to the…

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Head likens criticism of private schools to antisemitic abuse | Education

The headteacher of a UK public school is under fire for likening criticism of the private education sector to antisemitic abuse. Anthony Wallersteiner, of the £12,000-a-term Stowe school in Buckinghamshire, also said a decline in the number of non-state school Oxbridge admissions had left some parents making claims about “social engineering”. He told the Times: “The rise of populists and polemicists has created a micro-industry in bashing private schools.” Wallersteiner, who is of Jewish descent, said: “Some of the criticisms…

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‘This is not a fluke’: how one state school got 41 Oxbridge offers | Education

“Cambridge was always my dream,” says 17-year-old Hridita Rahman Khan, one of 41 students at Brampton Manor academy in east London to have won offers from Oxbridge this week. Khan’s parents are from Bangladesh, she grew up in Italy and arrived in London at the age of 14 with little English. Three years later she has been offered a place to study engineering at the University of Cambridge. Her story is one of extraordinary achievement, but there are many at…

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