Access is about more than just Oxbridge

Oxford, Cambridge and their multiple access initiatives exist to support applicants and current students, but they cannot rebuild the entirety of the primary and secondary school system.

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The media has an Oxbridge obsession, and it’s really not helping the situation. Yes, the two universities can and should do more to widen access, but Oxbridge alone cannot fix all the problems in the UK’s educationsystem.

So why are some schools more successful than others at preparing their pupils for Oxbridge? Perhaps they have a higher quality of education and more encouraging teachers. The real outcry should be about a state education system that fails the brightest students in the country.

The elitism of Oxbridge is a consequence, not a cause. Rather than demonising the admissions process and the famous eight schools that dominate Oxbridge, perhaps we need to consider elevating our state school education so that no pupil is denied the opportunity to reach their potential. A bright pupil who has been encouraged, mentored and supported throughout their education will have the skills of independent thinking, motivation and resilience to succeed.

This is not about Oxbridge discrimination but about the state of our education system and its failure to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Oxbridge and their multiple access initiatives exist to support applicants and current students, but they cannot rebuild the entirety of the education system.

At the same time, the media’s obsession with the Oxbridge scapegoat is a vicious spiral, with capable students being put off by mismatched stereotypes and teachers who warn them that they won’t fit in here, when the truth of the matter is that Oxbridge is a welcoming environment.

Those who don’t apply, won’t get in. Teachers need to revolutionise their mindsets about Oxbridge and encourage able students to apply. Oxbridge is not only within the reach of many bright students but eager to have them. Instead, the reputation of elitism is continually reinforced in media and politics. Oxford and Cambridge are but two well-reputed institutions in bike- filled cities, and no bright students should feel that they do not deserve to apply to them. It’s time the media recognised this and started tackling the multifaceted problems of British education.A bright pupil who has been encouraged, mentored and supported throughout their education will have the skills of independent thinking, motivation and resilience to succeed.

This is not about Oxbridge discrimination but about the state of our education system and its failure to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Oxford, Cambridge and their multiple access initiatives exist to support applicants and current students, but they cannot rebuild the entirety of the primary and secondary school system.

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