SCHOOLS minister Nick Gibb has said that universities need to give poorer school-leavers extra support so they don’t miss out on university places when they get their A-levels today.
What he’s asking for is affirmative action which would penalise kids just because they are from wealthier families – essentially righting a wrong with another wrong!
For me universities limiting places to the best students in favour of lower graded candidates is akin to closing the gates and putting down food for horses after they have already bolted!!
The irrefutable fact is that winning teams only have the best players and trying to rebalance performance when children are in their late teens is too little too late, and worse still is penalising the often harder working and higher performing students.
I absolutely believe that students from poorer areas and less than optimal schools should be given more chances and better schooling but it should start at infant and junior school rather than at the end of secondary school.
As the saying goes “show me a boy of seven and I will show you the man” which derives from the fact that in many cases our passions, attitude, focus and performance are already set at a young age.
I myself grew up in an area of deprivation and went to a school that was once called ‘a demonised depository of social waste’ by an eminent Cambridge psychologist, so believe me I have a decent idea what I’m talking about.
Our Universities should be further honing, coaching and enabling the best of our country, from wherever they come from irrespective of class, culture or ethnic background.
As an example of what we’re dealing with; as a school governor at my local school I was shocked to learn how many kids start infant school without knowing how to eat with a knife and fork. And who’d blame them since they’ve only been given finger food!?
So if we want to help more kids get into higher education, and fixing broken families is too enormous a task then we need to massively upgrade early education, not impose quotas at the university gates
Setting university entry rotas based on socio economic background is a race to the bottom, is unfair to high performers and not helping the individuals or our country to grow and achieve optimal performance.
As an entrepreneur and business mentor I know the quality of the next generation of workers and business leaders directly relies on getting the best out of our national talent pool. But putting restrictions on some, to promote others we have already failed, isn’t a solution.