Indicators fail to perform well

October 13, 2000

Your headline "Paisley puts the elite to shame" is at best attention-seeking and at worst wrong.

The report shows Paisley as having the best record in widening participation. But the statistics do not tell us whether students from low-participation areas performed as well as other students.

As a former staff member of one of the "elite" institutions mentioned, I am aware of the difficulties faced by students adjusting to being one of the crowd after being an outstanding pupil in school. This is as true of students coming from independent schools as it is of those coming from state schools. Many who drop out after the first year go on to other institutions. Universities are not identical in administrative, social and academic processes. Not all youngsters aspire to attending an "elite" institution. Many attend as a result of parental pressure.

John Jenkins

Middlesex


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