Letter to David Willetts MP

This recent Guardian story about a secret list of banned A-level courses by the top Universities has been playing on my mind for a few days. If true, it’s not right. I’ve written to David Willetts about it. In the interests of transparency and fair play, I think he should satisfy himself that it’s not true. A look at the results of successful applicants should provide the information to prove the story right or wrong.

4 comments ↓

#1 Mike on 08.23.10 at 8:02 pm

What would be wrong with independent, autonomous universities (which is what they are meant to be) saying that low quality subjects like “media studies” or “drama”. Proper subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Maths etc are what most people realise are strong, rigorous qualifications.

Yet again Mr Watson tries to make an “anti-elist” point and wants to lower everyone down to the same sub-optimal level.

#2 Simmo on 08.23.10 at 10:09 pm

I went to a Redbrick to study law. The admissions tutor said he preferred candidates not to have Law as an ‘A’ Level as it was just not relevant to the subject at degree level.

Maybe it is like an ‘A’ Level in medicine.

Surely you can appreciate that an ‘A’ Level in Theatre is not really the same as an ‘A’ Level in physics…?

It is nice to see you write to Ministers often. Pity you didn’t do it enough when your party was in power. Nice to see you quoted on the ‘X Factor’ today, too.

Forget the budget deficit your chosen one, Brown, left us with. I suppose you are too busy ruminating over the Ministerial wine cellar.

You are lucky that you are in a constituency where you are able to patronise people like this. In a marginal you would be torn to pieces.

#3 Anon on 08.24.10 at 10:54 am

Tom,
I would suggest talking to students’ unions – a lot of them have representation on the university committees that deal with recruitment and admissions, so they may have some inside information on this. Alternatively, FoI the Russell Group for minutes/papers of these committees.
Hope that helps.

#4 Ian on 09.02.10 at 12:41 pm

Tom,
I’m all for equality and put myself at the front of the queue to complain about bias in the Oxbridge admissions process.
However, this is a non-story. We know there are hard A’Level subjects – Economics, Physics, Maths, Geography etc.. We know there are less intellectually challenging ones – Drama, Media Studies, Photography..

Why oh why should any university accept an A’Level in Media Studies as equivalent to one in Economics, especially when applying for an intellectually challenging degree.

On the other hand I despair at local schools and colleges who fail to offer academic A’Levels on their syllabus. But that is not the universities problem, that is the schools and general society…

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