James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Oxbridge 'discriminating against' private schools in strive for fairness - Camilla Tominey
15 May 2022, 17:50 | Updated: 15 May 2022, 17:54
Camilla Tominey has argued that "you don't end discrimination by discriminating against another group", after Cambridge University's Vice-Chancellor told private schools to accept they will get fewer students into Oxbridge in the future as the universities try to welcome "others".
The comments by Vice-Chancellor Professor Toope prompted Nadhim Zahawi to push back against the idea that Oxford and Cambridge should accept more pupils from state schools, criticising universities who are trying to "tilt the system away from children who are performing".
Professor Toope said the university would be "welcoming others" rather than telling students from private schools "we don't want you".
Mr Zahawi, however, said it was the job of Government to reduce the "attainment gap" between the state and private sectors by increasing the quality of state schools.
Camilla told listeners: "Isn't it wrong surely for universities like Oxford and Cambridge to be seeking a policy of discrimination against private school children in a bid to not discriminate against state school children?
"How do you end discrimination by discriminating against a different group? Doesn't make any sense.
"Equally, I thought university was about taking the best candidate, both via academic achievement and - because both of the universities do an interview - an interview, surely that's how we should be judging children."
"At the heart of this argument is the suggestion that, if you've gone to private school you are 'privileged', more privileged than others," Camilla continued.
"No, hang on, what if you go to private school and you're sent away boarding because your parents don't really care about you and you don't have a very good emotional relationship with them, and actually apart from the fact that you're getting this stellar, paid-for, education, the rest of your life is horrific.
"And yet against all of that adversity, you do really well in your A levels, and then you want to go to university to prove triumph over adversity, only to be told you're going to be discriminated against because you didn't go to a state school!
"None of this makes sense to me. You don't end discrimination by discriminating against another group."