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EDITIONS
Monday, 19 August, 2002, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
New offer to deaf A-student
Anastasia Fedotova studying at her home
Anastasia learned to speak when she was aged seven
The Manchester student rejected by Oxford - who has passed six A-levels at grade A - has been offered a place by another top university: Imperial College, London.

The offer was made after Imperial saw reports that Anastasia Fedotova, who is profoundly deaf, had failed in her application to Brasenose College in Oxford after a written exam and two interviews.

Last week she heard that she had achieved grade As in her A-level maths, further maths, chemistry, physics, biology and general studies exams.

Her mother, Elena, said Anastasia was considering Imperial's offer - she had been planning to take a year out and try for Cambridge.

Imperial declines to comment on individual students but a spokesman confirmed the offer of a place, to study maths.

Discrimination

Professor Rees Rawlings, pro rector, educational quality at Imperial, said it was a "unique case".

"Once it was clear that she wished to study mathematics, her details were passed to admissions tutors in mathematics, who then contacted her."

Anastasia's mother said earlier that she was not accusing Oxford of having discriminated against her daughter on purpose - but believed the interview process had worked against her because of her disability.

Oxford denies this. It says she was simply beaten by better candidates.

Brasenose College, Oxford
Anastasia failed to win a place at Brasenose College

Anastasia learned to speak only when she was seven years old.

But she excelled in maths and sciences at Parrs Wood Technology College, in East Didsbury, Manchester.

She had come home from her interview at Brasenose in good spirits but was disappointed to be rejected.

Her mother said she believed Anastasia's deafness had gone against her and the university's selection procedure had not allowed her daughter to shine.

She said: "I don't think she had a good chance to present herself properly and to show everything she is capable of."

She said her daughter also lacked self-confidence as a result of her deafness.

Denial

Parrs Wood head teacher, Sir Ian Hall, said he had expected Anastasia to be awarded a place.

Manchester MP Tony Lloyd also called on Oxford University to explain its decision.

But the university rejected the allegations of discrimination.

Brasenose said it had followed the university's rules by contacting her school to see what extra help she might need.

Told that she could lip read well, it allowed extra time for the interviews.

It said the eight people to whom is had given places were simply better qualified to do maths.

Anastasia said she just wanted "to move on" and would apply to another university - she thought she might try Cambridge.

Laura Spence

Oxford's admissions practices came under intense scrutiny two years ago following the rejection by Magdalen College of another straight As student from a state school, Laura Spence.

She subsequently went to Harvard.

The case blew up when the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, accused Oxford of being elitist.

Ms Spence herself later said Oxford had been right.

She had been a bit upset at the time, she said, but other candidates who had performed better at the interview were more deserving of a place.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mike Baker
"Disability rights campaigners say Oxford must now explain why she was rejected"
Dame Fiona Caldicott, Oxford University
"We can stand up and show that we're not discriminating"
Universities UK's Roderick Floud
"Sometimes students can't get their first choice of course"
See also:

19 Aug 02 | Education
25 Mar 02 | Education
01 Mar 02 | Education
22 Oct 01 | Education
17 Jul 01 | Education
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