As published: 26 November 2013
The state:private debate about education has been rumbling on for years, but does where a child is educated still make a difference to his or her future? And if so, when does this begin to impact?
The Institute for Fiscal Studies highlights that unequal opportunities exist between state primary school children and their private counterparts accessing secondary education. A report published reveals that England’s 164 state-run grammar schools are four times more likely to admit children from private prep schools than those who receive free school meals within the state primary sector.
There are even indications that some apprenticeship providers are asking for their vacancies to be advertised exclusively to private sector schools, again putting state educated children at a disadvantage.
Although 64% of A-level students awarded places at leading universities were privately-educated compared with just 24% from state schools, there is evidence that the notion of a privately-educated elite is being challenged from within by Higher Education institutions themselves. Top UK institutions, including the University of Exeter, have agreed to increase the number of places offered to state-educated students, even where their grades are lower. And this year, Cambridge selected 63% of its students from the state sector.
It is encouraging to see a positive shift in favour of a diverse range of educational backgrounds in Higher Education, however it may be some time before we can truly say that the school a child attends does not affect their opportunities in later life.
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