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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 09:54 GMT 10:54 UK
Oxbridge 'rejecting UK students'
All Soul's College, Oxford
Are foreign students on the fast track to university places?
Oxbridge colleges are overlooking talented UK students in favour of overseas applicants because they attract less funding, a head teacher has claimed.

Gwen Randall, head of Framlingham College, an independent boarding school in Suffolk, said some of her brightest domestic students had been rejected while other non-EC pupils were offered places.

Branding the system "scurrilous", she called on other heads to speak out if they have experienced similar problems.

Mrs Randall said the colleges concerned should be taken to the European Court of Human Rights if it emerged a discriminatory policy was being pursued.

I suspect there has suddenly become a funding issue

Gwen Randall
Head teacher
Last year nine Framlingham College students applied to Oxbridge, and three of the four places offered went to non-EC pupils.

But the five students rejected had achieved better grades than those offered places, either straight A grades or As and Bs.

Mrs Randall said: "All nine of these candidates who applied were very strong entries, but as it turned out, those who were offered places, in my opinion were not as able and their end results showed exactly that.

"One of the rejected pupils got four straight As and scored 100% in a number of his modules, making him one of the best students in the country.

"He has actually gone to Imperial College in London and is very happy about it."

She said some colleges, such as Pembroke College, Cambridge, explain why an application is rejected, while others "leave you wondering".

"Five years ago there was a level playing field but now I think that the arena has become shabbily politicised," she said.

"I don't think there is a level playing field any more and I suspect there has suddenly become a funding issue.

"If colleges are pursuing this type of policy because it earns them more revenue then that is scurrilous. Places should be given on merit.

"Any other teacher who has experienced such discrimination, be it by postcode or school, should speak out now and ultimately this should go to a court of human rights."

Both Oxford and Cambridge colleges were unavailable for comment.

See also:

29 Jun 01 | Mike Baker
Breaking with Oxbridge elitism
25 Apr 01 | Education
Laura Spence don blames families
29 Jan 01 | Education
State pupils lead race to Oxford
11 May 01 | Education
Student debt 'threat to wider access'
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