Number of students going to Oxford or Cambridge no measure of a schools success, says top head
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Sunday 02 February 2014
Schools should not be judged by the numbers they get into Oxford or Cambridge, according to the head teacher of one of the country's leading independent schools.
David Lloyd, headteacher of Solihull – a 1,000-strong selective fee-paying school for seven- to 11-year-olds – has told his parents in a blog: "This, in my strongly held opinion, is a fundamentally flawed yardstick."
In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, he said that many schools publicised the number of pupils they had got into Oxford or Cambridge in their promotional material, and that this was a question brought up by parents considering sending their children to the school.
"Some of our brightest students choose to go elsewhere," he added. "If you're an economist, it makes sense to study at the London School of Economics." A trainee vet might choose Edinburgh University, he suggested. "In my time at Solihull, some of our most able pupils have chosen to study medicine at Cardiff University when the likelihood was that... they could have gone anywhere in the world," he said.
Schools can increase their Oxbridge admissions by encouraging pupils to opt for less popular courses at the universities – a practice which "feels totally immoral to me", he said. In some cases, the less popular course may be very similar to pupils' initial choice, but to suggest it for its lower grade requirement or fewer applicants was taking things too far, he thought.
"Most important is the best fit for the individual academically, socially, financially and geographically," he added. "There are lots of super universities out there, and globalisation means that the choice facing young people continues to grow."
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 3 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...