Sometimes, it really is no wonder that state school pupils are at a disadvantage, if their teachers are this stupid.
The country’s top universities have been called on to come clean about an unofficial list or lists of "banned" A-level subjects that may have prevented tens of thousands of state school pupils getting on to degree courses.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to me – twas obviously the case when I chose my A-Levels over 20 years ago.
The obvious answer was, then as now, to avoid the obviously frivolous subjects. Media studies? Pffffft.
The lists are said to contain subjects such as law, art and design, business studies, drama and theatre studies – non-traditional A-level subjects predominantly offered by comprehensives, rather than private schools.
From this, we are to deduce that comprehensives are failing in their duty to provide pupils with the calibre of subjects and teaching that will enable them to compete with the privately schooled.
Teachers accused universities of putting comprehensive pupils at a disadvantage by refusing to publish their lists. Some claimed the lists were a filter that enabled the most prestigious universities to accept more private school pupils than state-educated ones.
Wait, so rather than the schools that offer A-levels in basket-weaving. it’s the universities who are letting these kids down. Because the universities choose to award places on their most sought after courses to students with good grades in worthwhile subjects?
Tell me this isn’t a bunch of teachers who have elevated a political ideology above the importance of delivering a solid education.
I don’t have kids, but if I did, I’d sell my organs to pay for a private education, if this is the quality of thinking that prevails in the state sector.
2 thoughts on “Muddled thinking”
Now I’ve stopped beating my head on the desk…either these teachers really are thick or they are deliberately misleading the people outside the HE sector (can’t think why they’d do that).
Given that A-levels are now regarded as the gateway to universities, what is true is that if you do not have an A-level in the degree subject you are applying for, you would already be at a grave disadvantage, whether that’s drama, art or even, god help us, meeja studies. The only A-level which carries little weight is General Studies – it can’t boost your points tally but only demonstrate you claim to have a wider knowledge. As an exception, an A-level in Law would be seen as pretty redundant for Law applicants if it wasn’t supported by a more general educcation with good grades.
And these teachers have chosen to “forget” that universities now attract extra funding if they admit students from lower socio-economic groups, so offers to state school students are typically lower than those from the private or public school sector. If a student ticks the No box on the UCAS form asking if any member of their family has previously studied for a degree they become a financially attractive proposition for the institution.
So who does that leave to blame for the lower proportion of state school pupils getting to university? Oh yes, that’ll be the teachers of said pupils.
Why are we surprised by this? It has been evident for a long while that the education system exists to provide what it is convenient for the education system to provide. If what is provided is no use in the real world, so much the worse for the real world.