Prof Sez Toff Image Just Doesn’t Fitz

The Master of Fitz slammed politically correct politicians for damaging Cambridge's reputation.

The Master of Fitz has slammed the popular perception of Cambridge as an elitist institution.

Professor Robert Lethbridge has laid into ‘the Brideshead Revisited, toff image of Oxford and Cambridge, which some uninformed people find a lazy target.’

The pissed-off prof countered criticisms of privilege and elitism by pointing out that Cambridge could not ‘try any harder to reach out to applicants from every background in this country and every kind of school.’ Cambridge currently spends over £2.7 million on outreach programmes each year, while each college runs its own access programmes.

Lethbridge’s comments come after news emerged in April that state-school teachers were not encouraging their brightest students to apply to Oxbridge because they felt it was too elitist.

Prof Lethbridge singled out politicians as some of the worst offenders, pointing out that political parties have a ‘particular prevalence for choosing statistics which suggest social immobility and inherited privilege’ at Oxbridge.

The displeased Don claimed that ‘every politician’s statement on this subject over the last 10 years has been shown to be factually incorrect’. Last year both Nick Clegg and David Cameron criticised the UK’s top universities for failing to accept young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Fitz MasterMaster-Baiting: Prof Lethbridge has blasted the ‘toff’ perception of Cambridge

Fitz student Noreen Masud agreed with the Master’s sentiments, although she admitted he could have phrased them better.

She said, quoting Lethbridge’s comments to the Daily Telegraph, ‘”We find it polemically interesting to retail the idiosyncratic dimensions of what our top universities are about. It is the country house, aristocratic image of the nineteenth century” – what in God’s name does that mean?

‘But frankly I think he’s right”, she added. “Politicians scapegoat Oxbridge to distract from the failings of the 5-18 education system.

‘A teacher at my comprehensive specifically discouraged me from applying, suggesting Glasgow as an alternative. No amount of outreach on Oxbridge’s part is going to neutralise that sort of input from a student’s school.’

  • Mate

    On the KR, we don't have beef… We have expensive Fillet Mignon.

  • yawn

    Oxbridge still doesn't try hard enough, and the pooling system means that those who didn't quite do that well in the interview (often the people who haven't had years of middle class dinner talk training so they can succeed at the interview) get clumped together in the outside, modern ones.

    These pooled colleges then go on to boast about how 'friendly' they are, and how nontraditional they are, which in turn just encourages posho kids to get sent to John's et al, perpetuating all the same stuff.

    And in response to that idiot moaning about international fees, how about we sort out more grants for British working class kids before we start dealing with education systems outside? Let them pay as high fees as possible.

    • c….

      Bastard. The nontraditional colleges are friendlier. Who want's to stay next to poshos and bigots?

      • Gillian Duffy

        Bigots can be working class too you know…

        • c…


    • neocolonialist

      "Let them (internationals) pay as high fees as possible."Why not just re-colonise them in the process.

      • That's just silly

        I think you're getting nationalism and imperialism mixed up there. Just because our current higher education system is focused on British students does not mean we are then immediately going to take over other countries. There is literally no corroboration there at all.

    • pooled to Trinity


  • Ian Bone

    We all know that the Universities of Cornbridge and Oxfam are schools for the ruling elite and nobody else.

  • Another way

    I guess another way of looking at Oxbridge Elitism isn't so much the backgrounds of the people who come here but what they become afterwards. It doesn't really matter if Admissions is fair and open minded in admitting people, if these people go back to society as the newly inducted toffs, who take on upper class values and are just as dismissive of working class people as the usual Toffs are.

    • Admiral Ackbar

      How is that the university's fault?

      Also, this only tells half the story. I'm a comprehensively educated student who lives next door to an Etonian. We are very good friends. If people stopped whinging about class boundaries and used university as an opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, everyone would be a lot happier.

  • Obvious

    You can't measure the success of access by the amount spent, it clearly doesn't work and so long as our entry requirements favour privately school people, educated in much smaller classes yet put on the same entry requirement par as state schoolers, then the damning entry statistics will persist.

  • PostExam Nothingness

    What's the point of anything?

    • None

      We're all equal in death.

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