They shall not pass
“Hats off to the Russell Group admissions tutors.”
That was the somewhat unexpected reaction of Nathan Prest, our Head of Student Recruitment, to the research finding that universities in the Russell Group had once again contrived to admit a disproportionate number of undergraduate students from advantaged areas of the country.
Prest explained that he’d been moved to comment because of his recognition of the strain that maintaining such a record of inequality must place upon these admissions tutors. “Just think of the battles they face. Not only do
they have to ignore ministerial injunctions to admit more disadvantaged students, but they must also disregard the millions of public money invested in improved access and completely overlook all those research findings that show that students from disadvantaged areas outperform their more privileged fellows in final examinations.
“But despite all these pressures, their commitment to inequality has been so consistent that a new report from the Higher Education Policy Institute reveals that student intake at such Russell Group universities as Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol is currently as ‘unbalanced as income inequality in some of the world’s poorest
countries’. Now, that’s quite an achievement.”
Was this the full extent of his admiration for the Russell Group admissions procedures?
“Not quite. Even when faced by this crystal-clear evidence of persistent discrimination, the Russell Group still feels able to put up a spokeswoman who ignores the findings and declares – with what one likes to imagine was a twinkle in her eye – ‘Russell Group members are fully committed to encouraging students from disadvantaged students to enter higher education’. Magnificent!”