Students want bar on public school

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(First Edition)

STUDENTS at an Oxford college have come up with a novel plan to reduce the proportion of former public school pupils at the university. They want to ban them from applying for places, writes Fran Abrams.

Wadham College students' union, known for its radical politics, has called for entry to the university to be restricted to pupils from the state sector.

Ministers would think twice about choosing fee-paying schools for their children if doing so might prohibit them from entry to Britain's oldest seat of learning, the students say. It might also lead to better funding for the state sector.

The union has passed a motion asking the university to implement its plan after a seven-year time lag, allowing parents with ambitions to send their children to Oxford to choose a state school for them.

The proportion of state school pupils at Oxford has declined from almost 50 per cent 10 years ago to a little under 44 per cent. The students argue that drastic action is necessary to reverse this trend.

Ashwin Kumar, president of the college students' union, said that the Oxford colleges could be more active in their attempts to attract students from state schools. At present, they were ignoring a large pool of untapped talent, he said.

The plan received a cool reception from the colleges, which have set up the Oxford access scheme to attract pupils from the ethnic minorities and working-class backgrounds.