Universities ‘should take pupil’s race into account’ to help poorer students gain places

In an article in the Daily Mail, 04/01/13, Chris Ramsey, co-chair of the HMC/GSA universities sub-committee and Head of The King's School in Chester, is quoted following comments made by Universities' Minister David Willetts telling universities to treat white working-class boys similarly to other disadvantaged ethnic minorities.

Mr Willetts’s call for institutions to recruit more white working-class boys follows a sharp fall in the number of male applicants last year. They are thought to have been more discouraged than women by the new £9,000-a-year tuition fees.

Mr Willetts lamented ‘the culmination of a decades-old trend in our education system which seems to make it harder for boys and men to face down the obstacles in the way of learning’. He added: ‘I do worry about what looks like increasing under-performance by young men.’

Private school leaders are among those questioning the proposals.

Chris Ramsey of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference said: ‘It depends how the policy translates into practice. If what David Willetts means is better engagement with young working-class males to encourage them to aspire to university, help them get good grades and help them understand the benefits of university, that’s fantastic, I’m all for it.

‘If what it means is preferential treatment in the application process, that would be a bad idea. No one should get preferential treatment simply because they are a member of a group.’

By Laura Clark, Daily Mail. Click here to read the article © Daily Mail