Don’t ALL our kids deserve the chance to go to uni?

Aug 20 • Featured, Uncategorized • 924 Views • 15 Comments on Don’t ALL our kids deserve the chance to go to uni?

Last night I got really upset watching the news. Nothing unusual in that, except that this time I was crying because of a tragedy of a different kind. The increasing number of kids who might find themselves without university places despite fantastic ‘A’ level results.

One boy had an A, and A* and a B, but still no university place. There were tales too of kids with straight A’s unable to get in to the college of their choice, because now they’re expected to have straight A*s.

It’s beyond me why we’ve arrived at a situation where studying hard and doing your best is no longer enough to get you into uni, and dropping just one grade can mean the difference between a place through clearing and no place at all.

And it depresses me that our kids – yours and mine – could be facing a situation where they are unable to get a place at uni if they want one. Education should still be a right, not a privilege. Shouldn't it?

I’d love to hear your views.

written by Liz Jarvis


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15 Responses to Don’t ALL our kids deserve the chance to go to uni?

  1. jfb57 says:

    It is a very difficult situtation. Years ago not everyone wanted to go to University. There were other options. Now it’s almost expected that most will go on. I think the sadness is that there are not the options available. Lots of children have gone on to do courses that were not around before & many had apprenticeships as the way in rather than a dgree. For me there has been a ‘dumbing down’ of degrees because of these type of courses.

  2. Michelle Twin Mum says:

    It is all very sad. Not only is getting in really difficult, you then have to pay a small fortune. I have no idea whay my kids will choose to do but I hope the options are better for them by the time they turn 18. Mich x

  3. JulieB says:

    I’m with Julia on this one – if there were other viable options to university we would not be in this position. I grew up in Germany, where there is still a strong vocational system around apprenticeships, which are attractive and sought-after (ok, so the university system over there has real problems of its own, but that’s probably another subject). I know the previous government had aims of getting 50% of young people into university, which is a laudible aim – after all, I would not want to deny anyone the experience I had – however, only if what is "produced" (couldn’t think of better word, sorry!) at the end of it makes sense both for the young person involved and for the economy as a whole.

  4. Karen Knott says:

    My son will be taking A levels in 3 years time and I worry for him. We ask our kids to jump through academic ‘hoops’ – and they do (grades improve year on year) and then at the end compromise their options – a University place (if they are lucky!) with the prospect of accruing considerable debt …. or a fierce scramble for the few ‘on the job’ training schemes….. or the very real possibilty of falling into the unemployment void. We need to offer valid alternatives to uni which develop and expand the amazing talents our children have to offer. Not doing so is indeed a tragedy.

  5. Erica says:

    I’m one of the mature students stealing the places this year. I think there’s an argument that too many peole go to Uni but that’s only because jobs demand it. A degree has become a base qualification for many jobs.

  6. Jean says:

    This is a subject that worries me greatly at the moment as my youngest will be applying to universities when she goes back to college in September. She is desperate to go to uni as she can’t pursue her chosen career path withouth a degree, but when you see the sheer number of kids being turned down this year it makes me wonder how much harder it will be next year.

  7. Emily O says:

    I think it depends on the university. To get into a good university you’ve always had to have brilliant A Level results. I went to uni 18 years ago and the most popular courses at the best unis demanded the best results so I don’t think much has changed there. I tried to do English Lit at a top uni and didn’t quite make the grades and ended up in the clearing system. Just like the boy you refer to in the article. He would undoubtedly get in at a not so popular uni or on a not so popular course through the clearing system with those grades. I think one of the issues this year is that there are fewer clearing places. If worst comes to the worst you can take a gap year and/or resit and apply again. I think getting into university has to be quite tough, you’re demanding academic excellence from people. If everyone can get into uni then degrees become less meaningful. However I agree with other commenters that there need to be far more vocational degrees on offer – our education system focusses too much on the academic side.

  8. @goonerjamie says:

    My eldest could be in this position in two years time, and I have no confidence that the situation is going to improve in this time. It’s a hard enough job convincing kids to try their best so they can get into a good Uni, without all this to put them off.

  9. @ToybuzzUK says:

    I think most parents expect their children to go to University and so kids feel obliged to please. I know my mother was very upset when I said that I didn’t want to do any more education at 16, Even though I had found myself a job. Not all jobs need a degree, so I don’t think everyone needs to go to University. However saying that you should have the right to go if you want to, so it’s so sad if you get the grades you need and don’t get in.

  10. Janelle says:

    I am a high school teacher and in most schools i have worked in (London only though) I have seen hardly ANY students with uni aspirations as the grades are almost impossible for MOST to make. In a school of 100 we MIGHT have 1 students who could get all A’s and A*s. I think the education system here is elitist. there are heaps of different careers that can come from university degrees, all kids should be able to choose what they want to do, but the reality is they can’t. you have to be from a particular class, at a particular school. If you are an inner city kid at a state school, univeristy is most likely NOT in your reality. uni should be a choice and a right. it isn’t in the uk. for this reason we are moving back to australia, as we want our eldest to have the choice to go to uni at the end of his school. even if only for a year, we think it’s important and it is not a reality for us in this country.

  11. Janelle says:

    sorry, that was meant to be a school of 1100, not 100

  12. Expat Mum says:

    So much to say (but I won’t). I got an offer from Bristol many moons ago, which was considered outrageously high – BBC. Most other uni’s were offering BCC to me. (Still went though.) Obviously the grades are all higher these days and there are more kids competing so uni’s can ask for a million As. If this were the USA, universities would be clapping their hands in glee as it would be reason to build more universities, because everyone has to pay. GIve the UK about ten more years (ie. no grants whatsoever) and it will be the same. On the other hand, in the USA, because everyone now has a degree, you need at least a Masters to compete for the better jobs. Lastly, there have always been alternatives to university. I could have achieved my law degree by working in a solicitor’s office. It would have been the same degree but I would have been getting work experience to boot. Such was the snobbery attached to a university degree (and NOT a Poly degree) however, that it was clearly not the desired avenue at the time. I feel sorry for the kids at the moment – too many mixed messages.

  13. Emma - Me , The Man & The Baby says:

    I suppose I have a good 17 years into my first is at the uni age but If this is what its like now to try and get into uni what will it be like come 17 years? Will I have to pay a ridculous amount and will my children have to get 3 A* ?? I’m scared for the future.

  14. sandrine says:

    I don’t really thing that the fact that not everyone wanted to go to university some years ago is relevant. I think that whereas the rich have always had the option of being educated or being, well, just rich, this is not true for those who have to work for a living. By forfeiting a university education, you often forfeit the chance of a more interesting life and a more rewarding job. Those who’ve been lucky enough to have a decent secondary education and to be in a position to make the most of it will be right to regard themselves as seriously missing out if they don’t get a university place. Everyone deserves an education.

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