Letter: It is a crisis and it's Labour's fault (1)

April 6, 2001

You imply that there is conscious student choice in unexpectedly ending up at a pre-1992 university ("Shunned six made to fight for survival", THES , March 30).

As anyone involved with admissions at a "modern" university knows, the older, research-driven universities make much of their higher entry standards - rarely portrayed at much less than B or C. The government cuts in funding per student, however, increasingly force them into clearing, where they become only too happy to Hoover up students with D and E grades. This is, of course, not a policy many are openly publicising.

The ex-polys long ago invested in teaching-driven systems to support and encourage those for whom a D or an E is a great achievement. Such students are now lured away to the back rows of huge lecture theatres in research-driven institutions to the detriment of both. To the detriment, too, of the ex-polys, as your front page of "at-risk" institutions shows. The very publication of their names will damage their future recruitment prospects. This is one reason why I am withholding my name and affiliation. My own "modern" university - not in your list nor on any at-risk register - has a rolling programme to quietly sack on basic redundancy terms a number of long-serving lecturers over the next few months.

There is a crisis in our sector, it is real and it is driven by Labour's education policies.

Name and address withheld

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