Admitting you went to public school could cost you a place at uni
Daddy’s money got us nothing
Public school students shouldn’t have to reveal their education on UCAS because it could ruin their chances of getting into uni, according to a top head.
Jo Heywood, headmistress of Heathfield all-girls school in Ascot, claims government targets to include those who went to state school are completely unfair.
She insists it would be better if admissions were under a “veil of ignorance” when deciding who to let in and students should be judged purely on grades.
Headmistress Jo accused UCAS of “social engineering” by allowing unis to favour those from state schools and bring in more from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Jo told The Telegraph: “UCAS applications should be made but without universities knowing what schools students come from.
“Every child deserves an education but if a child comes from a private school there is prejudice.
“If you are a student who has worked hard and has done well, then it really should be based on merit.
“It doesn’t matter whether you went to a state or an independent school. That should be irrelevant.”
And this isn’t the first time unis have been accused of pushing down the numbers they recruit from fee-paying schools.
Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council, said a focus on targets between state and independent schools is “wrong”.
He said it allows unis “to claim they are doing their bit for social mobility when in fact they are simply taking more students from selective grammar schools and middle-class comprehensives”.
The former headmaster of Wellington College, Anthony Seldon, has previously accused Oxford and Cambridge of discriminating against public school pupils, saying there was a “hostility”.
He said: “From our perspective it looks as if some public school students are being discriminated against at the final hurdle.”
“Was that different to when I was at Oxford 35 years ago? Yes.
“I don’t think anyone gave a toss back then where you came from, only that you were good enough to go.
“Positive discrimination in favour of state school people has become the hatred that dare not speak its name.”
A UCAS spokesman said: “Admissions professionals assess every applicant as an individual.
“Good practice on fair admissions expressly states that ‘it is not appropriate to treat one applicant automatically more or less favourably by virtue of his or her background, school or college’ and UCAS is unaware of any evidence of prejudice against privately educated students.”
But in the past few years top unis have come under more pressure to reach targets for state school students
Leading British universities have come under increasing pressure to reach strict admissions targets for state-school students in recent years.
A report in 2012 revealed the Russell Group, made up of the top 24 institutions – including Oxford and Cambridge, was falling short of quotas designed to improve access for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Office for Fair Access insists uni set “access targets” to make sure a certain percentage of their intake come from state schools.