Uni Top Dog Rejects Adjusted Offers As “Cruel Experiment”

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Cambridge University makes national news by rejecting calls to adjust entrance requirements for students from poorer backgrounds.

The University has sparked national debate by condemning the idea of adjusting offers for students from poorer backgrounds. 

The outgoing admissions director, Dr Geoff Parks, has claimed that lowering entrance requirements would be a “cruel experiment”and doubted whether students who could not make the grades would cope with the academic demands of the University.

Dr Parks

This reaction follows continued pressure by Offa, the University admissions regulator, for the university to broaden its social horizons. Their new head, Professor Les Ebdon, has challenged Universities to admit more students from working class backgrounds, claiming that “Context has to be taken in to account if you are going to access potential.”

He also added that universities who fail to adjust could be forbidden from charging £9,000 fees, or face fines.

There has been some support for adjusted offers; David Willetts, the universities minister, stated earlier this year that “admissions can be based on more than just A-Level results.”

Some major universities already consider ‘contextual data’ when making offers to students. Bristol, Newcastle, Nottingham and Glasgow already allow some adjusted offers and the University of Edinburgh uses a points system which takes social background into account.

However, Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor of Reading University, has criticised the idea by claiming that lower offers could be seen as“patronising”.

Dr Parks, after 10 years in his position, told the Sunday Telegraph: “Our research indicates that our current offer levels are about right for our courses. None of us in good conscience want to be ruining people’s lives on some gut feel or political imperative based around getting votes or pandering to some particular bit of the populace.”

Do you agree with Dr Parks? Vote in our poll below on whether offers should be adjusted to cater for social difference.

  • Lewis

    No students care for this kind of thing anyway, they only moan when they weren’t consulted and if they are consulted nobody turns up. The Sun is a despicable paper and if it offends a minority then why not get rid of it if the majority is completely apathetic?


    • I’m Right

      That’s your opinion, but may not match that of another. Therefore a referendum is the best way to make such huge decisions.

      Also, not sure how or why JFT96 is at all relevant.

      • Ed Palmer

        It means Justice for the 96 referring to the Hillsborough Disaster, but that was 25 years ago, you can’t use examples from 25 years ago, and that isn’t even relevant to the debate about page 3.

  • Bobby

    What a fantastic article.

    A small band of militant feminists and careerist Labour fools should NOT be allowed to decide Union policy without proper consultation.

  • Britta

    If you follow the argument made in this article then Union Council shouldn’t have power to make any decisions as their power is not legitimate. The fact your only crying foul now shows that you only care because you disagree with the particular action they took in this case. Either council has power to vote, as your student elected reps, or they don’t, crying foul when a decision doesn’t go your way just looks petty.

    And as for the student referendum, students had plenty of time to show their view. There were two widely circulated petitions, one for nmp3 one against. Nmp3 gained around 700 signatures compared to 44 for the one arguing against the boycott.

  • Leicester student

    Let’s get something straight, UC DID NOT vote AGAINST a referendum. They have in no way actively denied the student population a voice in the matter. A referendum was suggested at the meeting, but it was too late to submit it as an option as part of the proposal. There was plenty of time for this to happen, and it’s just sad that everyone who feels like there should have been a referendum didn’t care enough to get it sorted in time. To reiterate – to have a referendum by the time that the proposal came to UC was not an option, so no such vote against was made. People at the Tab need to get their facts right.
    Equally, if you’re calling for a referendum here because UC is ‘unrepresentative’, then there needs to be a referendum for everything put through UC.

  • Prendergast

    Deafening silence from Harry Wells for once.

    He hasn’t yet left snarky comments criticising pro-choice, anti-censorship commentators.

    Maybe he just can’t handle the truth?

  • Ayn Rand

    Hear hear.

  • The Tab Aberdeen

    Why not drop us an email about this? editor@aberdeentab.co.uk

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