Oxbridge stereotypes

December 5, 1997

IT IS ironic that Mr Adonis should choose Oxford classics as emblematic of Oxbridge exclusivity (THES, November 28) when this subject has made leaps and bounds in attracting state school pupils.

To widen their range of applicants all university classics departments have for some years provided intensive language tuition at university rather than requiring A levels in Latin and Greek.

Additionally, classics has been made accessible to sixth-formers by summer schools, for which there are ample bursaries. This has ensured, as the Oxford Mods "B" courses demonstrate, that the subject is open to students of all backgrounds. To narrow the provision of this in favour of subjects taught at schools would be to deny state school pupils any chance whatsoever of studying a subject that proves so enjoyably challenging and useful in the market place.

The reason Oxbridge has difficulty in recruiting from the state sector is precisely because of comments such as Mr Adonis's that ignore the present reality in favour of a generalisation of the past.

Tamsin Rodda

Ex-state school pupil/ex-mods "B" student


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