Peter Hoskin

Cambridge University’s decision makes the case for school reform

Cambridge University's decision makes the case for school reform
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In some sense, the critics of Cambridge University's decision to call for an A* grade from its applicants have a point - it will, most likely, make it disproportionately more difficult for students from state schools to get into the university.  After all, despite educating only seven per cent of pupils, independent schools produce more students with three A grade A-levels than all the country's comprehensives put together - a shocking statistic, among countless others, which James highlighted last week. 

But those same critics are directing their anger at the wrong target.  That the performance gap between British state and British private schools is the largest in the world is not Cambridge Uni's fault - it's testament to the failure of government education policy.  That A grades at A-Level are no longer held in the same esteem as they once were, likewise.  All in all, it just demonstrates the urgent need for school reform - especially as other universities are expected to follow Cambridge's lead.