Less of the lottery

October 10, 2003

The answer to all Steven Schwartz's consultation questions about admission to university or college must be yes ("Task force sparks fair access debate", THES , September 26). Pupils go to school to study for GCSEs, AS or A levels and their performance reflects how well they have done. They do not go simply to take examinations that might lead to higher education. Therefore, we have to define merit if we say that students should be admitted on this basis.

I have heard of one university department that would throw application forms down the spiral staircase and pick up the top 100 or so, to whom offers were then made. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service's planned training programme for admissions tutors can go a long way to answering our problems. We should reward admissions tutors if they succeed in admitting students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Tony Higgins
Cheltenham

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