Oxford access policy lags behind Labour

first_imgOXFORD has hit back at comments made by a leading think tank criticising the University for falling behind on admissions targets.Findings by the Institute for Public Policy and Research, which have been released ahead of a full report due out next year, show that Oxford is far short of hitting its target of admitting 62% of its students from the state sector by 2011. Present admissions figures for state school pupils stand at 54%.IPPR Co-Director Lisa Harker condemned the figures and said that Oxford “must stop blaming a lack of applications for their failure to make progress”.A spokesman for IPPR said, “On current progress, Oxford is going to take ten years to meet the access benchmarks that the University agreed with the Office for Fair Access. That is twice as long as the five years they pledged it would take.”He added, “Oxford will need to radically rethink their approach to attracting students from state schools…and stop waiting for talented state school students to apply but seeking them out and making them offers.”Oxford University attacked the allegations and criticised the analysis behind IPPR’s investigations, which it claimed was misleading. A spokesperson for the University Press Office said, “Not all students gaining 3 As want to do a subject offered by the University of Oxford. Nor do they all have the right combination of A-level subjects to gain entry even if they are interested in one of the courses on offer.”She said that three As alone are not enough to guarantee a place, pointing out that A-level results are only one of the criteria that tutors take into account when selecting candidates, as they also consider GCSEs, aptitude tests, interviews, personal statements and written work.  OUSU Vice President for Access and Academic Affairs, James Lamming, said, “The University of Oxford does not offer degrees in every subject, nor will all students find an Oxbridge learning environment best for them.“Any assumption that all students who get three A grades at A-level will therefore apply to Oxford or Cambridge is flawed. However, we would certainly aspire to encourage all pupils who have the potential to come to Oxford to consider an application,” he added. Cambridge is faring marginally better than Oxford with state school numbers at 57%, but it will not attain its targets for another five years.Harker said that both Oxford and Cambridge “need to be more proactive”. She said, “Students getting three ‘A’ grade A-levels at state schools are significantly underrepresented at both universities. “Oxford and Cambridge must stop blaming a lack of applications for their failure to make progress. It does not matter how many bursaries they offer or how many students visit their campuses if students from non-traditional backgrounds are not applying.”IPPR’s full report, Universities Challenged, will be published in 2008.By Natasha Vashishtlast_img read more