In an article in the Telegraph, 21/08/13, Graeme Paton reports on comments from HMC's incoming Chairman, Dr Tim Hands, to The Times, that a group of universities will become a “super Ivy League” and break dominance of Oxford and Cambridge in university league tables.
Tim Hands, incoming chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference of top private schools said that several London universities had already narrowed the gap and the end of the Oxbridge “hegemony” would benefit young people, according to The Times.
He said: “We are going to have a super Ivy League of Imperial, UCL, LSE, and then Oxbridge won’t be so apart, which must be good for our society. We are already getting towards it.”
Dr Hands is Master of Magdalen College School, in Oxford, which is sending 47 pupils to Oxford and Cambridge this year and has some of the best A-level results in England.
But he said: “If we can get rid of the Oxbridge hegemony it will be so much better for young people. Just as the 11-plus divided people into sheep and goats, anything that makes people at 18 think they are sheep and goats is bad or must be in danger of being bad.
"So if we could have a perception that there is a wider set of top universities, that will have to be good. And there are many signs that is happening.”
Dr Hands said he regularly tells parents of his pupils that Oxford and Cambridge are “not the be-all and should not become the end-all”.
He said: “Parents and pupils do tend to see those universities — after all, they have their own term, Oxbridge — as being apart, in a league of their own. I think that can be very harmful to young people’s self-perceptions and to parents’ aspirations.”
Data from The Times Good University Guide does not show any change in the gap between Oxford and Cambridge and Britain’s other universities.
When the guide was launched in 1993 the gap between them and third place, then held by Imperial College, was 40 points.
In last year’s guide, the gap between Cambridge and the London School of Economics, in third place, had widened to 80 points.
But many academics predict that research funding, which tends to be focused on science and medicine, will largely go to a league of universities that include Imperial, UCL, King’s College London and Manchester.
Last spring the Russell Group of Britain’s biggest research universities expanded from 20 members to 24 as it included Durham, Exeter, York and Queen Mary University of London.
Click here to read the article © The Telegraph.