Background bias

September 26, 2003

Your choice of a photograph of Christ's Hospital School pupils to illustrate the story on private schools and university admissions ("Private heads curb bias claim", THES, September 19) is interesting.

The school was set up as a charity to provide boarding-school education to deserving children of the urban poor. Even today, its ethnic and social mix, heavily buttressed by large-scale scholarship and social subsidy programmes, is not what you might expect from a "private" school.

So, in the fair-access debate, should universities require lower grades, say, of applicants from affluent backgrounds who have been to a fashionable comprehensive in a leafy suburb than of those from poor backgrounds who attended Christ's Hospital?

Russell Vallance
Rotherhithe, London

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