STILL on the subject of bad decisions made by our Government, I sometimes wonder which planet they all inhabit and then I remember that it’s the home world for Eton-educated Oxbridge millionaires.
Our leaders are currently suggesting that top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, should try to increase the number of state school educated students in their hallowed colleges and decrease the number of public school toffee noses like themselves.
No doubt they believe this to be an egalitarian measure, a vote-winner among socialists and an antidote to the troublesome business of tuition fees.
But like most of the ideas the Conserverals have come up with in recent months, they appear to have given little thought as to how such a feat can be accomplished and keep insisting that entry standards to universities need not be compromised.
But, quite clearly the only way to take more pupils from ‘ordinary’ comprehensive schools would be if these students were to get the As and A*s needed to benefit from this type of university education.
It’s certainly the only way to ensure these establishments retain their international reputations for excellence. A quick glance at the attainment figures for many high schools shows that relatively few achieve this.
One of the reasons why public schools get more students into ‘top’ universities is that private education costs serious money and those paying the bill want to see results.
I know someone who teaches in a girl’s private school. She says the parents are extremely pushy and demanding.
The girls themselves have lessons until teatime, supervised homework every evening and study sessions at weekends.
Compare that scenario with the disaffected teenager at Slob Academy who can barely be bothered to turn up to lessons, rarely does any homework because it’s deemed too boring, can’t wait to leave and has parents who did much the same themselves.
It’s really no good putting pressure on universities to massage the figures: the social engineering, if there’s going to be any, needs to begin much earlier in a child’s life - and that’s what the Government should be focussing on. There are, I’m afraid, no quick fixes.