Cambridge to scrap school type targets

  • 12th March 2024

The University of Cambridge will no longer set targets for the proportion of state and independent school pupils it admits to undergraduate degree courses, The Times has reported.

The policy of favouring state education applicants was previously described as “unjust” and “excluding better-qualified students from independent schools” by David Abulafia, professor emeritus of Mediterranean history at Cambridge. He praised the decision to scrap the targets, which have also caused concern to fee-paying parents worried their children were being discriminated against.

A Cambridge University spokesman said: “We will continue to take into account an applicant’s schooling, particularly if they come from a school which has not seen many applications to Cambridge. Other socioeconomic factors will also be considered in the application process to indicate disadvantage of opportunities, as occurs at present.

“Considerations of an applicant’s school type in isolation is not a factor that the Office for Students would expect to see as a specific target in the access and participation plan, however.”

Professor Deborah Prentice, Cambridge’s vice-chancellor told The Daily Telegraph that there was no discrimination against independent school pupils, but that a higher number of state school applications had caused the competition for places to become fiercer.

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