|Students who get lower grades at A-level attending
a "poor school" can have the same potential
to shine at university as those who scored As at
a "middle-class school", the head of the
government's admissions taskforce is expected to
Trying to spot them was simply an attempt to
find the best students - it was not "social
engineering", said Professor Steven Schwartz,
vice-chancellor of Brunel University. He disclosed
that eight out of 10 responses to his inquiry
agreed that a student's "life experiences"
should be taken into account by university admissions
Indicating that the taskforce's report, due out
next month, would call for better training for
tutors, he hinted that the group would recommend
that interviews used by popular universities should
be organised along standard lines to make them
fairer. But he conceded that admission decisions
were "more an art than a science".
Professor Schwartz criticised the use of "bespoke"
exams - such as those being tried out for some
subjects like veterinary medicine and law by Russell
group universities - saying they could be a "barrier
to participation" by students from poor families.
In the annual Oxford, Cambridge and RSA lecture
at the Royal Society in London tonight, the text
of which was released in advance, Professor Schwartz
said decisions on who to admit should be "based
on an evaluation of each individual applicant,
not automatically biased toward or against a particular
Source: Education Guardian