At the present time it is 20 times more likely that a student from Eton or Harrow will be accepted by Oxford or Cambridge universities. At the present time it is 6 times more likely that a student from any of the other 100 odd private schools in the country will be accepted by Oxford or Cambridge universities.
All that is going to change — at last! The new Education Act, the first for 20 years, is published as a White Paper today and will be in the Queen’s Speech on Thursday for legislation next term. Among many other proposals it will require all universities to publish the gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background of their intake.
Some are saying that fair entry into the elite universities from now onwards will require quotas. Lord Patten, one of the most eminent of the Great and the Good and the Chancellor of Oxford University has come out against this, saying it will hit standards at university level.
Whether he is correct or not in the immediate future doesn’t matter. It’s the future transparency of the data that will bring fairness about in due course. Suffice it to say that Oxford and Cambridge Universities will no longer be able to dilly-dally along the way as they have been doing for many years until now.