Excellent suggestions is important to pupils’ university progress

Paul Mason (Private schools know how to game elite universities – state-educated youngsters don’t have this privilege, G2, 1 December) has succumbed to crude class-based generalisations, increasingly the default response in the private school v state school debate that the media is so fond of. Paul Mason claims that state-educated 16-yr-olds make A-degree selections based on “hearsay, myth and data that is outdated”, whereas private-college college students happily depend on their teachers’ “years of useful knowledge” and “continual informal get in touch with with elite universities”. In my knowledge as a not too long ago retired deputy head of a huge state school which published a effective nationwide guidebook to succeeding at aggressive university interviews and secured 17 Oxbridge offers last 12 months – and as an individual who has met a lot of effectively-informed and committed heads of sixth and advisers in the state sector – the reality is not as simplistic.

The true division is not between state and private but among schools that provide large-high quality, personalised up-to-date advice and details, and individuals that do not. The independent sector has fairly a handful of of the latter, as does the state sector, which beneath this government has suffered devastating cuts to careers and increased education advice.

I do agree with Mr Mason’s conclusion – the system usually does fail “bright youngsters from non-privileged backgrounds” – but allow us not lazily presume the independent sector has all the solutions right here state colleges just need to have drastically enhanced investment in high-good quality guidance, specially for 15- and sixteen-yr-olds, for the skills and passion for excellence and aspiration is there.
Tim Miller
London

Paul Mason is almost certainly correct. Our society and our economic system are getting deprived of talent by the exclusive entry to universities afforded to the privately educated. This unequal accessibility affects not only the top quality and scope of our present and potential judges, diplomats, civil servants and politicians, but also our journalists and editors, our senior broadcasters, actors and even our common musicians. The reply is not to get a bit far more information to state schools, as Mason suggests, nor to go cap in hand to the personal sector, as our privately educated shadow training secretary would have us do, but to do what Margaret Drabble proposed: get rid of their charitable standing. And end pandering to the veneer presented at interview panels and auditions.
Arthur Gould
Loughborough, Leicestershire

For also lengthy state-college pupils have acquired bad guidance concerning the facilitating subjects at GCSE and A-level that will help them progress to the best universities and preserve their possibilities open. To aid tackle youth unemployment and ensure that students receive the degrees and qualifications that will lead to employment, Russell Group universities should develop a closer connection with state colleges and their careers advisers to make sure that correct details about needed GCSE and A-level topic options are clear, so that students can make informed alternatives from as early as year 8. Often, by the time college students receive this data at age 16 or 17, it may possibly be also late.

Brenda King
Chief executive, ACDiversity

Bravo to Michael Rosen for highlighting the hypocrisy of coalition schooling policy and the folly of the free college zealots (Letter from a curious parent, 2 December). Is it as well significantly to hope that Tristram Hunt may agree with him?
Brian Donnelly
Birkby, Cumbria

What I do not understand is why there looks to be no 1 (or rather few) in Britain questioning the total premise that alternatives you make aged 16 must choose your future. When I was sixteen I needed to be an actor, of program. At 16 absolutely nothing seems quite appropriate in your existence, and the notion of slipping in and out of the lives of other characters appealed to me. Well, thank goodness I did not have to make the alternatives then that children at English colleges have to. I’m from Germany and there we’re produced to examine all around ten subjects until the really end of school. We choose two or 3 topics to consider at an superior degree, but all other subjects – from sciences, to languages, politics, history, PE, ethics, etc – are even now mandatory. And the qualification gained at the finish allows you to apply to any university course you want. I did superior English and German, but could have applied to do nearly anything at all at a German university: medication, engineering, informatics, or graphic design and style.

I come to feel that offering young men and women a broad, effectively-rounded training that will enable them to turn to almost any topic in their greater schooling has higher worth than forcing them to make selections when tons of them will not be ready (how could they be?), and that could go on to restrict what they can apply to do at university.
Anita Klingler
Griesheim, Hesse, Germany

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