One third of bursaries to private school pupils

first_imgHannah Cusworth, a third year History and Politics student, gave an impassioned speech before Congregation about her own background, where she mentioned not only how an Oxford Opportunity Bursary had enabled her to come here, but how financial assistance had allowed her to go to an independent school.Cusworth said, “I was surprised to learn that a third of full Oxford Opportunity Bursaries go to students who come from the independent sector.“I suppose this shows that not everyone who goes to private school is from a very well-off family. A lot of students educated in the state sectorwho are now at Oxford went to very high achieving selective state schools. “But I still believe that, one the whole, the state/independent divide says a lot about the educational advantage and support that student likely received.“Almost every student with AAA is applying to Oxbridge so we need to work more closely with the more disadvantaged state schools whose students have the grades and are applying to Oxford but who miss out on a place.“Bursaries should ensure that any student who is bright enough to come to Oxford, whatever school they went to, isn’t put off by the costs.”Alex Bulfin, OUSU VP for Access and Academic Affairs, admitted that given “national statistics on progression from school to university and elite university”, it was “self-evident” that students from independent schools, will have been more exposed and encouraged to pursue higher education at top universities such as Oxford, than students from state schools.Asked whether bursaries should be used to encourage those who have been educated within the state sector, Bulfin said, “The primary aim of bursaries is not recruitment but student support. I think there are far more significant cultural barriers that prevent people from making an initial application or even picking up the prospectus to see what bursaries we offer.”Bulfin shifted the debate away from access, to one of financial support. He said, “The primary purpose of bursaries is to ensure people have enough money to live on while at university and that no-one has to decline their place for financial reasons. To that extent they are less about access than student support.“However some enhanced bursaries, such as the current Oxford Opportunity Bursary, also give students the possibility of reducing the amount they have to borrow from the Government, which does give them an element of access and student recruitment.”Oxford’s access schemes have come under close scrutiny recently, as many feel the rise in tuition fees could deter bright students who are from less financially able backgrounds, if they are not encouraged to apply by their school or family.Oxford are expected to announce the level at which they will set their fees for students beginning university in 2012 in early March. It is believed that Oxford will follow Cambridge’s lead in raising fees to the highest cap of £9,000 per year. Sufrin continued, “Our ruling elites have never put enough resources into building an education system which provides appropriate pathways for the talents of every individual to be nurtured to their full potential. So taking the message ‘think Oxbridge’ at people who hadn’t is never going to affect the educational chances of more than a handful; and I think we need to do a whole lot more than that.”The University stress that bursaries are “simply a function of household income”.The Press Office maintain that “the purpose of bursaries is to assist with living costs for those whose parents won’t be able to help them out in that regard.”A spokesperson said, “You get [bursaries] automatically based on your household income. The University does not ‘choose’ who to give them to”.John Parrington, a Fellow and Tutor in Physiological Sciences at Worcester College, also voiced concern that Oxford’s undergraduates are still being selected from a narrow pool of applicants.He said, “I think is the central problem with the whole fees and bursaries question. The big difficulty with having huge fees compensated for by bursaries to the ‘deserving poor’ is that one will inevitably get into these debates about who is most deserving of such bursaries.“There’s a danger in assuming that even if Oxford did dramatically increase its intake from state schools, if these are the highly selective type, it could still mean a huge proportion of school students out there in Britain at non-selective state schools are not really getting a look in when it comes to getting to Oxford.Parrington continued, “Oxford still has a long way to go really to reach out to students from less privileged backgrounds. It would make a huge difference if we could go back to the more ‘level playing field’ that I had the benefit of when I was an applicant to Cambridge, and without which it is doubtful that I would be sitting here in Oxford as a University Lecturer and Tutor.”A spokesperson from the University Press Office was quick to stress that these statistics merely demonstrate Oxford’s commitment to recruiting the best and most able students. She said, “At most independent schools, bursaries and scholarships are given on the basis of strong academic talent as well as need. “People on low incomes who have been supported through independent school are therefore by definition likely to be particularly able, and therefore well represented at top universities.” A third of Oxford Opportunity Bursaries awarded to current first years were given to students from independent schools, Cherwell can reveal.This comes just weeks after tutors at the University’s Congregation called for a “radical” overhaul to Oxford’s approach to Access Schemes, which many tutors feel still do not go far enough to reach students beyond a certain “cultural and social elite.”The University had not intended to publish the statistic that one third of bursary recipients are educated within the independent sector, but Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, recently disclosed this figure during comments he made at a Teach First presentation in Somerville College last week.The statistics were later confirmed by the University Press Office, who stated that “Of students coming to Oxford University with household incomes under £25k, who then automatically qualify for a full Oxford Opportunity Bursary, 31.6% are from schools in the independent sector.”The University admitted that the bursaries are “automatic, based on income” and they are “blind to all other factors.”This statistic carries implications for Oxford’s access schemes. Some tutors have expressed concern that Oxford is not going far enough in targeting its access policies at those who need it most.Bernard Sufrin, Fellow and Tutor in Computer Science at Worcester College, said, “While quality education in schools is rationed by price it’s not really surprising that low-income families that believe in the importance of education will do their best to find their way past the rationing machinery; and who can blame the tiny numbers of such families who can do so, for taking advantage of every available scholarship, grant, or bursary?“But these individual ‘rags-to-Oxbridge’ narratives allow our ruling elites to continue pretending that any poor child can succeed academically as long as they have the innate talent.” last_img read more

Danielle’s mother hopes fundraisers can get justice for cherished daughter

first_imgAndrea Brannigan, the mother of Buncrana woman Danielle Mc Laughlin, has shared her hope that local fundraisers can help her family get closer to the truth about her daughter’s tragic death.Danielle was 28 years old when she was found dead in the Goa region of India on March 14th 2017. An Indian man has been charged with her rape and murder, but her loved ones continue to seek answers about what happened on the day her life was cut short.Danielle’s mother Andrea tells Donegal Woman why a campaign was established to help pay for legal fees so her family can get closer to the truth. “The Truth For Danielle Mc Laughlin campaign is to find out the TRUTH of what happened to a girl who touched the hearts of anyone she met,” says Andrea.“Our goal is for Danielle to still have a voice even though hers was cruelly taken from her. Without the public’s ongoing love and support for the Truth For Danielle Mc Laughlin we can never have justice for losing someone we will always love and cherish dearly.”Danielle Mc LaughlinA Night of Country dance will take place tonight (Thursday, July 20th) in the Plaza, Buncrana to raise funds for the campaign. There will also be a Colour Run in Buncrana on July 29th to pay tribute to Danielle’s bright nature.Andrea says these events are as much about giving thanks to the community as they are about gathering more support for the campaign: “We want to give back to the community which is why we organised this dance and the colour run which is similar to the Holi fesival (festival of colours) that Danielle was at the day she was stolen from us… this is our way to say thank you to the community while still raising much-needed profit so we can get justice.”Today’s Night of Country will feature top stars David James and David Craig. The event begins at 8pm in the Plaza, Buncrana.Tickets can be purchased from Macs Bookstore, Buncrana, Halfway Stores, Burnfoot or the Lunchbox, Buncrana. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.There will be a country themed raffle on the night with some great autographed memorabilia from popular artists.A sneak peek at the prizes includes: A country hamper that includes a signed Mary Black CD€50 voucher for Restex bedsTommy Tiernan signed DVD€50 Beach House voucherLitre bottle of vodkaSigned Mike Denver CDDanielle Mc LaughlinBuncrana’s First Colour RunThere will be a Colour Run on July 29th to honour Danielle’s final days in a positive light, remembering the colourful Holi Festival in India.The run takes place on Saturday, July 29th, at 1pm, leaving from Buncrana Leisure Centre.Organisers said: “It was the Holi festival or colour festival Danielle was visiting when she was sadly killed, so her family and friends thought what better way than remembering Danielle than through something she spent her last day doing.“The colour run is for people of all ages and we want this to be a great day of fun for all the family, food and drinks will be served after the run which begins at the Leisure Centre, Buncrana and travels to Swan Park and back again with plenty colour stations and surprises on the way.” Tickets are €20 for adults, €10 for children under 12 and please ask about family discounts.Check the Facebook page for methods of registration.Colourful wristbands are on sale now throughout Buncrana and Donegal to support the movement and remember the much-loved young tourist. For more information about stockists, visit the Truth for Danielle Mc Laughlin Facebook PageDanielle’s mother hopes fundraisers can get justice for cherished daughter was last modified: July 21st, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:buncranaDanielle McLaughlineventslast_img read more

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