Telling the truth about schools

The school a pupil attended should clearly be considered alongside their grades when they apply for university. Why is the idea so controversial?

It seems pretty fair to me that the quality of the education received should be considered alongside the bare statistics of exam results by universities seeking new students. You'd think that institutions would want as clear a picture as possible of the potential of applicants before doling out places. So exam board AQA's plan to rank A-level students according to the school they attended seems not radical, but just a scheme whereby more detailed information is imparted.

Everybody hates it though, and even the Sutton Trust isn't keen. The excellent education charity is always worth listening to. Its spokesman, Lee Elliot Major, told the Independent that it supported the use of "contextual information" but added that the "bigger challenges" were in "encouraging pupils actually to apply when they have the grades".

Nothing, it seems, can replace a scholastic environment that pushes its best pupils to be very ambitious.

Much as I like the new Channel 4 series Educating Essex, episode one, at least, seemed packed with enthusiastic and gifted teachers making heroic efforts just to make children ambitious enough to put their phones down, or hand over their hoodie. Surely there cannot be much harm in letting universities know when a lot of a school's effort has, of necessity, been expended on the more reluctant students?


Deborah Orr

The GuardianTramp

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