Scandalous statistics

March 12, 2004

I think Graham Allen simply mispoke (Soapbox, February ) - but it certainly isn't true that the proportion of working-class children entering higher education has been a "static and scandalous" 20 per cent for the past 40 years. Forty years ago, only about 8 per cent of the whole age cohort entered higher education. The figure Allen has in mind is the ratio of upper-income to lower-income entrants; and that rests on the equally static and scandalous ratio of upper-income to lower-income students with good A levels; and that in turn rests on all sorts of things that start in the cradle, and can't easily be remedied when people fill in their Ucas forms.

Alan Ryan
New College, Oxford

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