Letter: Oxford for all

From Ms Katherine Duncan-Jones

Sir: Does Esther Oxford ("University challenged", 9 February) really think that Oxford should seek to be a "neighbourhood university", rather than encouraging the widest possible access to its resources? And are children at state schools necessarily ill-equipped to take examinations in their A-level subjects? If they are, their prospects for top A-level grades, the admissions criterion for the future, must also be poor.

During 30 years as an Oxford tutor, I have been involved in the selection of hundreds of candidates - all, until last year, female. I have found, if anything, the exam has tended to favour shy but studious state school candidates., whereas more confident but sometimes less committed candidates from independent schools do better at interview. I am therefore unhappy at the prospect of the abolition of the exam.

Yours sincerely,


Somerville College