Founder of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, writes to the Evening Standard about Oxbridge admissions.
“The fact that thousands of “brilliant” students don’t apply for Oxbridge despite having the right grades is down to our admissions system and how these universities are perceived [“Third of students who get right grades for Oxbridge do not choose to apply”, October 16].
Students rely on grades predicted by their teachers. But many students — particularly those from poorer homes — have their grades under-predicted and end up with better grades than they thought. Armed with their expected grades, they may have thought a place at Oxbridge was out of their reach and been encouraged to apply to “safer” options.
No other developed country uses grades predicted by teachers in the admissions process. A much fairer system would be one where students apply only after they have received their A-level results. Having grades on application empowers the student.
Our research has shown that almost half of state school teachers would not encourage their brightest students to apply to Oxford and Cambridge. When asked why this is they say that they don’t think their students will get in and even if they get in they won’t fit in.
Getting admissions to Oxbridge and other universities right is crucial for fairness.”