Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Ox Factor

The News of the World has launched a campaign to widen access to Oxford. The article is here. Though there are various things about it that are a bit baffling, including the rhetoric about 'ordinary homes' and the slippage in the article between 'state schools' (to participate students must be state educated) and comprehensive schools (from which come 1 in 5 applicants to Oxford) the whole thing seems to be both well meaning and a good idea. It boils down to a funded summer school for interested and enthusiastic students with some discussions with current students and tutors thrown in. Quite how this means the NotW will 'Get you into Oxford' is not spelled out, but it can't be a bad thing all told provided participants don't assume anything is guaranteed. Full details, with less of the random CAPITALISATION and hysterical rhetoric, are here. (And even more info from Oxford itself, which more or less reveals the NotW is not quite the driving force behind the scheme that the intial article implies, can be found here and in a flashy e-brochure here.) Credit where it is due. Here it is due to Oxford and the Helsington Foundation for sponsoring the places.

And Cambridge University runs a similar set of courses, in partnership with the Sutton Trust. You can find out about those here.

What's more annoying is Ed Balls' reaction to the whole thing. He 'backs' the NotW campaign.

EVERY child should have the chance to go as far as their talents can take them.

And I believe no barrier should get in the way of young people making the most of their potential - whether it's where they live, their family income of their family or the school they go to.

For too long our education system was geared to making sure some young people got a great education, but the rest could settle for second best. That's now changing. More and more young people are going to university - including more from state schools and lower income families. But I know there's still more to do.

Every young person must have the chance to succeed and get good qualifications, whether their strengths are practical, academic or both.

So this is another great campaign from the News of the World.

It will give young people, who have the potential to succeed at one of our best universities, the extra help and leg-up that others take for granted. That's why, as well as getting more young people to university, we've tripled the number of apprenticeships.

The third paragraph is interesting from someone whose party has been in charge of educational policy for 12 years now, more or less the entire school life of the students at whom these courses are aimed. And the final paragraph is a baffling non sequitur. The government has tripled the number of apprenticeships in order for 'the NotW campaign' to give the extra help that others (wonder who he has in mind?) take for granted? Perhaps a sentence has been cut out in the edit...

No comments: