Azara Blog: Thousands of allegedly bright children never make it to university

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Date published: 2008/06/13

The BBC says:

One in 10 academically promising state school pupils in England do not go on to university, a report has claimed.

The study also says thousands of bright pupils are let down by schools because they fall back after high levels of early achievement.

The report for education charity the Sutton Trust says 60,000 high achievers do not go on to university every year.
The research, based on analysis of the attainment of pupils starting secondary school in 1997, tried to estimate the educational "attrition rates" of academically gifted pupils long before they think of applying for university.

It found the number of high-achieving state pupils shrank from about 88,000 at the age of 11, to just over 50,000 at age 16. Some 32,000 of these end up going to university.

It also found high rates of "leakage" among the least privileged of pupils - those qualifying for free school meals (FSM).

Yet another fairly bogus report produced by the Sutton Trust (a.k.a. Peter Lampl). They seem to think that academic achievement is some kind of frozen attribute. Well, this kind of "leakage" already happens long before age 11. Many 5 year olds can seem bright and academically talented but by age 7 or 8 have drifted out of view. Most of this is not down to the schools, it is down to the family circumstance. But when these pupils drop down the scale of academic achievement the drop is real. It is not imaginary, as the biased first paragraph of the article tries to imply. These pupils should not be going to university if at age 16 they are no longer "academic achievers".

And unfortunately it seems to be the view of certain people that the State is somehow supposed to magically all sort this out, by (presumably) spending far more education resource on poor people and consequently far less on non-poor people (which generally means ordinary people, since rich people send their kids to private schools).

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