Richard Garner: This bonus for high-flyers could cost the rest dearly

Share
Related Topics

On the face of it, allowing unlimited expansion to universities if they recruit students with at least two A grades and a B grade at A-level would appear to be a good idea.

It will open up access at some of our most highly rated universities to more students who have achieved academic excellence in their exams.

Some academics argue that it will help students from disadvantaged communities who are more reluctant to apply to top universities until they have the results under their belt.

The trouble is that not all of our universities want to play ball. Oxford and Cambridge are happy to stay the size they are and will not be taking on any extra students – although Bristol and University College London will. So my guess is that there will be limited opportunities for those who enter the Clearing system with better-than-expected results.

Meanwhile, the "squeezed middle" – universities with a good track record but not quite at the top of the league tables – are fighting back, offering incentive after incentive to try to maintain the level of high-flyers they have attracted in past years.

It poses an interesting dilemma for students: do they take advantage of cut-price-degree offers or opt for the university place they may have always cherished on the grounds of the institution's prior academic record? I suspect many will stay with their original choice.

If we are serious about encouraging participation in higher education among disadvantaged communities, we need to pay heed to those people who may have struggled in poorly performing schools and therefore come out with lower A-level grades. The danger with the new system is that university admissions staff will be devoting so much energy to securing high-flyers that they will neglect this aspect.

Otherwise are we really saying that you have not succeeded at A-level unless you have obtained two As and a B?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

General Cover Teacher

£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Currently looking for teachers ...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

PPA Supply Teachers

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron gives his keynote speech to the Conservative party conference in Birmingham  

Conservative Party Conference: Here's what David Cameron said in his speech…and what he meant

John Rentoul
 

Ebola virus in the US: How did the disease ever spread this far?

Sophie Harman
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?