Reluctant recruiters

July 21, 2000

I was interested to read that universities are being urged to consider promoting higher education to younger pupils to widen participation ("Children need hard sell to go to college", THES, June 30).

Having spent nearly four months trying to organise a higher education day for 80 Year 12 students, I found it a struggle to get many universities to send staff to talk about the degree possibilities on offer in their departments.

While school liaison departments were prepared to send staff to give a general introduction or help in writing personal statements, members of academic departments were reluctant. In the end, three universities made use of the opportunity but countless others, despite regular letters asking for contact, were either unable or unwilling to help.

Given that this is a school with higher than average A-level and GNVQ results, which regularly has 50-60 students going on to higher education, perhaps universities need to start by concentrating on suggestions and opportunities offered by schools such as ours which have the links with the students and which are listening to their needs.

Susan Bouiller

Head of sixth form, Rastrick High School, Brighouse, West Yorkshire

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