Labour Insists The University Admissions System Is Staffed By The Ignorant


There could be a certain amount of truth to this contention, that the British university system is staffed by the ignorant. We think particularly of Bath Spa University which has been offering £750 sign ups to new students – commit to the government paying £27,000 in fees, you paying that back in dribs and drabs, and we’ll give you £750 in cash now.

Hmm, actually, that’s a very decent gaming of the system, not a sign of ignorance at all. However, Labour really is making this assumption, of ignorance:

The Labour party is demanding an inquiry into GCSE reforms that it says are putting state school pupils at a disadvantage by forcing them to sit harder exams than students in the private sector. The Department for Education describes the reformed GCSEs, which started to be introduced last year, as “gold standard”. But official figures show that many independent schools are opting for internationally recognised GCSEs (IGCSEs), which are being phased out of state schools at the behest of the government because it considers them less robust. The consequence, according to critics, is that private school pupils are being afforded an advantage over state school students in the race for university places. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner MP, said: “We cannot have an education system with different rules for the privileged few. It is totally wrong that Tory reforms are putting state school pupils at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts who can afford a private education.

Think through the logic being used here. OK, accept that IGCSE is easier, that the state schools have to take the harder GCSEs. How is it that this could be a disadvantage to those state school pupils? Only if those running the university admission system were ignorant. As we’ve said elsewhere:

Does this give those private sector pupils an advantage when applying to university? Well, only if those running the universities are entire fools. People applying to Britain’s gilded cloisters come from all sorts of educational backgrounds. There will be those who have come up through the British school system, those from various remnants of the colonial schooling system, baccalaureates, perhaps the international bac, we’re sure that here will be graduates of Finland’s famously egalitarian system, of Sweden’s variation, or Russia’s and so on. Even some who managed to scrape through American high school. That is, those who select pupils for entry into the universities are already well versed in the intricacies of different sets of qualifications. Thus entirely capable of distinguishing between 15 A*s at IGCSE and 5 Cs at GCSE. Actually, if they can’t, then what are they doing there? To believe what is being claimed is that the universities are being run by those entirely unqualified to do so.

It’s a fairly extreme assumption being made there by Labour, isn’t it?

Unlike many news organisations, we chose an approach that means all our reporting is free and available for everyone. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable.
For as little as £1 (£10 if you were at OxBridge) you can support us – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Click Here To Make A Contribution - Tim & The Team