OXBRIDGE IS NOT THE ONLY OPTION
Published Letter; Evening Standard; 22 August 2011
You report that schools are to be officially ranked in league tables by the proportion of sixth-formers they send to Oxford and Cambridge universities. This is one of the governments nuttier ideas- reflecting the obsession with Oxford and Cambridge-that didn’t deserve to get off the drawing board. Given how few schools send pupils to Oxbridge ,in any quantity, it will do nothing but irritate heads and governors. UCL, Imperial, LSE, Durham, Bristol and others will also be understandably aggrieved. Imperial frequently tops Oxford in League tables and is thought to have better science courses overall. There are also plenty of very bright pupils who could easily go to Oxbridge but choose other universities because Oxbridge doesn’t offer the options they want , or the courses simply suit them better. Their schools now stand to be penalised. The Sutton Trust, which exists to improve access for disadvantaged pupils disapproves of this measure which speaks volumes. Ministers should change their minds and quickly.
Patrick Watson, London