22nd March 2018
Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education brought to you by Education Advisers...
Top universities telling pupils to press teachers for higher predicted grades
Teachers are being pressurised to compromise their "professional judgement" and predict grades "that will not be met"
University staff are advising prospective students that they should ask their schools to hike their predicted grades
Simon Chapman, deputy head at the independent Warwick School, told Tes: “Students have shown me e-mails from department specific university admissions tutors suggesting they approach the school and request increased predicted grades in order to ensure an offer.”
The students were told this because “a certain set of predicted grades triggers an automatic offer”.
Dr Chapman said this was part of a broader trend of university departments “increasingly encouraging students to seek higher predicted UCAS grades from their school”.
At university open days students were given information that “specifically tie predicted grades to likelihood of offers”, he said.
For example, at one Russell Group medical school, parents and students were shown a slide that categorised predicted grades into four tiers. According to Dr Chapman, the audience was then told that 100 per cent of applications in the top tier would be guaranteed an interview or offer, compared to 75 per cent in tier two, 50 per cent in tier 3, and 25 per cent in tier 4.
A private tutoring tax ‘would level grammar school playing field’
A leading education researcher wants a new tax on private tutoring services, to help “level the playing field” for lower-income pupils trying to get into grammar schools.
Such a tax would be particularly vital to counteract parents who use private tutors to “coach” children for the 11-plus entrance test, said Professor John Jerrim of the UCL Institute of Education.
High-income families are much more likely to use private tutors to prepare their child for the grammar school entrance test than low-income families are, Jerrim found in a study co-authored by Sam Sims and funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
Children who receive private tutoring are five times more likely to get into grammar schools than those who do not get extra help.
Jerrim wants to use the proceeds from a tax to to pay for vouchers for low- and middle-income families, “providing them with subsidised or even free private tuition”.
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