Student says elitism cost him a place at college

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The Independent Online

A school leaver, believed to be among the most highly qualified in Scotland, blamed elitism at the heart of Britain's grandest universities for depriving him of a place at Cambridge.

Gary Sinclair, 18, from Cromarty, in Ross, applied to study natural sciences at Cambridge's Magdalene College after achieving five straight A grades in his A-level equivalent Sixth Year Studies and Advanced Higher exams. Only three other students in Scotland achieved five such passes in the examinations but the teenager believes he missed out on a Cambridge education because his alma mater, Fortrose Academy, was a comprehensive rather than an English public school.

Mr Sinclair, who has now accepted a place to study physics at St Andrews University, has no doubts that elitism was at the root of Magdalene's decision. "One of the first questions that I was asked was: 'Do you come from a comprehensive school and have they prepared you for this interview?'," he said.

Magdalene College denied there had been any bias against Mr Sinclair because he was a state school pupil.