Double whammy

Posted: November 13, 2010 in Capitalism, Education, Finance
Tags: ,

Double whammy for people hoping to go to university – as well as the fees going up, the grades are as well! Isn’t our country awesome? A load of the top universities are introducing an A* requirement, putting another barrier in the way of the less prosperous.

Private schools and independent schools get the most A* grades. That’s because they don’t rely on fast-evaporating Government money, but on the moneybags of their pupils’ rich parents. So that’s yet another blow in the face for us normos who have to make do with our struggling state schools.

The A* requirement is apparently to raise standards (or prove standards or something) to justify the higher fees, or some such bullshit. It proves nothing. It merely raises a homogenous blend of the rich and the super-rich who have been able to afford the coaching to get in, even if they don’t have the brains. And meanwhile, the more intelligent prospective students find themselves in the NEET (not in education, employment or training) bracket because their school couldn’t afford the facilities, or the expert teachers, or the equipment.

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In a somewhat related rant, it is policy in a couple of departments in my educational establishment to mark a student absent if they do not hand work in. Now, apart from the obvious fire hazard, it seems that no-one has even thought of the potentially disastrous consequences for those on EMA, especially those being paid the higher rates. There are many reasons why a student may not hand in their work, and while it is certainly a bad thing, the reasons could be perfectly justified – and even so, enforcing a penalty that hurts lower-income students while being water off the higher-income students’ backs is unfair. This is a form of indirect discrimination.

  1. Pieface says:

    I personally disagree with this post, I don’t think the A* grade is there to put a barrier on the less prosperous, I think it’s just the universities’ way of distinguishing the more ‘able’ kids, as competition for uni places gets tougher. Sure, going to a private school and being from a prosperous background does give you an advantage, but universities do recognise this. Besides the unis that’re looking for the A* grades will be looking for the most gifted kids, who would be able to achive the best grades, no matter whether they’d gone to a private school or not.

    “The School takes into account the school background of its applicants, although this is not the key element in decision making and we take into account the full range of information presented on the UCAS form, including the personal statement and reference.

    The Admissions Office identifies the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades at GCSE (including Maths and English) at the school which you attended when you sat these. The percentage score is written on the application form for the selector’s reference. The lower the average performance of the school, the more consideration may be given if your past examination performance significantly exceeds your school’s average performance.”

  2. JKBC says:

    I see what you mean, and that stuff from the LSE is pretty significant, although there may be unconscious bias since the capitalist system is entrenched in our society. The requirement ITSELF isn’t trying to put the barrier in place – it’s that the more prosperous are more likely to have the help to achieve it and that it’s being used as justification for the higher fees that’s problematic. Maybe it won’t have as extreme an effect as I characterised it as having, but there will be an effect. Students from state schools tend to do better once they get to university, which says quite a bit about how some private school grads cope when their tutors and private education are ripped away from them. It’s one of the many examples of unintentional classism that is significant, but easy to write off as ‘fair.’

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