The 93% Club

Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by reg_varney, Mar 9, 2021.

  1. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    Good Luck to her. Always good to see somebody trying to do something positive around social mobility.

    I was lucky in the fact that when I went to University it was free and I got a grant. Most of my contemporaries were from similar backgrounds to me, comprehensive school educated, some with the main breadwinner long-term unemployed, so money was very tight at home for them, but they were bright, well-grounded and grateful for the opportunity to study in higher education.

    There were a few very posh kids, but they tended to stick to their own social groups. If anyone dared take the piss out of anyone for their social class, accent, or lack of money, they would have been told in no uncertain terms some home truths, and if they'd been particularly obnoxious then they would've been thumped.

    Mind you, accents and social graces can be very deceptive. One bloke I knew, who I got to know pretty well later on, a quiet, modest chap who was very well spoken, some would say he had a quite a posh accent. Turned out he was from a single parent family in Moss Side, Manchester, his Dad having bu33ered off before he was born.

    Looks and accents can be quite deceptive.
  2. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    My daughter went to Bristol Uni and there was 100% a problem there. She got out in less than a year. We've discussed this here previously so I won't expand, but it ruined some young lives, however I understand things have improved a lot since.
  3. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    Yes, that really is crap. Unfortunately, it rolls on into professional life too, often quite subtly.

    A schoolfriend of my partner's brother went to Bristol in the late 80's. Some of the people on his course called him Compy because of were he went to school. He ended up getting a first and is doing well. None of them got a first but then they probably didn't need to.

    My sister's eldest is currently doing Physics at Bristol. At some point I hope to have a proper chat with him about this issue, which because of the pandemic, I've not been able to do yet.
  4. Arakel

    Arakel First Team

    Reading initially, I found it hard to identify with the article. I am also the first person in my family to go to university; in fact, you can traverse the family tree on both my mother and father's side and you won't find another degree in any of the living members (I think my older cousins' kids may be about to change that, though). I didn't encounter any of the snobbery and exclusion the article discussed, so I was initially a bit sceptical.

    I'm glad they clarified the situation with private school intake is abnormal at Bristol, since the article didn't reflect my experiences at all. I also went to uni in the north of England, which I imagine played further into that.

    Good on the girl for making a positive change. It's sad there has been hostility to it, but I suppose that was inevitable given the antagonistic way that some privileged people look at the less fortunate.

    I think movements like this are going to ultimately be what set the world right: recognising that in most situations, the majority just need to get organized to start to achieve real change. This is the other side of the sword that is social media: just as fringe movements have been able to organize and cause trouble, fledging movements like this are able to get incredible traction very quickly, something that just wouldn't have been possible 15 or 20 years ago.
  5. Relegation Certs

    Relegation Certs Squad Player

    93% of degrees are completely pointless.

    93% of jobs don't even bother checking if you have the degree you claim on your CV.
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  6. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    I work at Bristol Uni. A lot of attention has been paid to widening participation in recent years, especially locally, and the statistics are now better than mentioned in that article for 2016, although sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. (I suspect, although don’t know, that the problem is worse in some subjects than others - English seems a likely candidate). Still, I’d say there are now unis in a worse state than we are in this respect.

    EDIT: I’m puzzled why the article refers - twice - to “graduate intake”. Surely that must be undergraduate?
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  7. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    I had another chat with my daughter this morning about Bristol Uni regarding this thread. She said the issue is that the Oxbridge rejects end up at Bristol and Durham and are put together in the catered blocks rather than being spread around the general Uni population. She told me she once got laughed at when walking into a lecture hall because she had a "cheap" bag. The posh kids aren't all bad eggs though, she once sat next to a fresher who was educated at Eaton who she said was charming, (but dressed head to toe in brown). She said the issues all came from the Surrey mob, spoiled brats who didn't make it into Oxford & Cambridge.
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  8. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    And Exeter. In fact, I think Exeter is probably the worst of the bunch these days.

    I'm not sure about the halls policy. There are certainly some which are 'posh'. I was under the impression that students chose which hall they resided in, rather than being allocated by the university, so public school students do probably tend to stick together. Could be wrong about that.

    When I was going into the office, I would often travel in on the student bus (the halls are just up the road from us, and staff get a discounted fare). This was certainly eye-opening as regards the background of many of the students...
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
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  9. ForzaWatford

    ForzaWatford Squad Player

    Nice idea. I find the attitudes towards Uni's a bit grim. I got AAB so could have got into a second tier Uni but probably not a redbrick. I chose to stay at home for family reasons and went to Herts. People are so snobby about it with me. I remember going to an interview after I graduated and the interviewer asked me 'Why with those grades did you choose to go to such a low ranking university?'
  10. I Blame Bassett

    I Blame Bassett Squad Player

    Good for her.
    I asked Mr IBB,who was up at Cambridge just after Henry VIII had completed the building of King's!
    He has a similar background to the young lawyer in terms of a poor background,although he had two supportive parents.
    It was very apparent at Cambride when he was there but as he said he spent almost all of his time playing football,tennis,lacrosse and any other sport he could manage he didn't come into contact with "the toffs" as Lovejoy called them!
    However later in life he met this type of Bullingdon bunch again in the dispute of the ownership of Queen's Club.
    Queen's is run by Old Etonians and they are deeply unpleasant and it would be easy to see them having "chav parties" as described in the article.
    What's more they have a great deal of power and influence. Contacts is why people send their children to public schools,even the minor ones give you a leg up.
    Even in the inconsequential world of tennis certain Herts clubs are run by the Oxbridge set.
    They're like a squid,tentacles everywhere.
  11. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    I hear you. Our younger daughter did so much more research than her elder sibling due to her experiences and we made many more visits and talked to 10x more students at each Uni she was interested in. Result = bl**dy happy Uni student who just loves everything where she is.
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  12. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    I got AAB and went to Oxford!

    Just shows how A level grading has changed...
  13. HappyHornet24

    HappyHornet24 Crapster Staff Member

    Mr HH went to Cambridge (funnily enough with Steve Palmer, who he played football with) and definitely isn’t the archetype Cambridge type - comes from a working class northern background and was the first member of his family to go to uni. He did get there via a private school (Manchester Grammar) but his grandmother used her life savings to send him there after his state primary school put him forward for the exam. My impression from him is that he had no problems at Cambridge - he was on the football team and most of his friends, with whom he’s still friends today, were fellow footie fans and players. I think you get a different type of person on the football pitch than you do on the rugby team! He definitely came from the “wrong side of the tracks” as far as his secondary school was concerned and I think would have had a hard time were it not for the fact that he was very good at football, which saved him a lot of grief.

    At my daughter’s school, a disproportionate amount of the senior staff all seem to have gone to Durham, including the Headmaster who I feel is completely out of touch with schools in the 21st Century (he still doesn’t allow football as a sport at the school and yet boasts that Calum Chambers is an alumnus when everyone knows he did well despite the school, not because of it). Tbh, because of this, although I know my youngest will have to choose herself which uni she wants I will be doing everything I can do subtly steer her away from Durham. I couldn’t stand the idea of her ending up in a uni full of ex public school kids.

    Conversely, I went to Leicester and was (nicely) teased by the “lads” in my group of friends for being “posh” (I’m not but obviously have a Home Counties accent).
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  14. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    Whilst filling in my details awaiting interview at Cambridge, with my broad-Manc-accented schoolmate, 2 chaps from across the table happened to notice his 4 straight A's, and my AAB, and commented on how good they were. They asked what school we were from, and they obviously recognised the name of WBGS...they were a bit discomfitted when we showed absolutely zero recognition when they proudly proclaimed they hailed from "Caterham"...we had honestly never heard of it. They were forced to divulge their grades in return..ABC and BBB, before they were then asked to go through to the next part of the day's proceedings. Me & my mate just looked at each other incredulously, before Mike eventually opined: "Did you hear those grades, lad? They've got no effing chance."
    This was the mid '70s, just as positive steps were being taken to encourage more state school applications (let alone entrants) to Oxbridge. I would imagine in the late '60s those 2 Caterhamites would have had a good chance of getting in. No wonder the country was regularly run by second-rate muppets.
  15. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    I *think* it's more a department/subject thing. In the sciences/engineering you don't tend to meet too many from 'posh' schools (as staff or students).

    The only time in ran into this was when I joined the University of Kent at Canterbury straight after graduation, for a 'job' (which actually turned out to be a very generously funded CASE award). I then met my 'labmates' who were all ex-"...VMPS...". I didn't what this meant, so I asked them in the college JCR (new to me) over a spliff and a pint, only to be told "...if you don't know I'm not going to tell you, you should find out..." and using the finely honed 'active' diplomacy that my hometown's renowned for it turned out that VMPS* translated as 'middle-class prat with split lip laying on the JCR floor'. They left me alone after that**.

    Newcastle (Uni) was pretty famous for it (seriously) but they were all members of the Faculty of Agriculture ('Agrics') and easily identified (and avoided) as they all wore faculty scarves (ISTR, when I was there that the Agric one was a 'unique' one?).

    FWIW no. 1 son's at a grubby little diploma mill full of Oxbridge rejects (I forget where) reading Biomed science - he's very sporty (rugger bugger) and he's not once mentioned anything untoward about his fellow students. My mate attended the same place (he was in the U6th and I was in the 3rd form and we both in the highly successful school quiz team - Herts Champions 1984 and read computing) during the mid/late 80's and he once told me that his classmates in the University Field Sports Society were very useful when he was 'turned over' in the Black & White Club one night.

    *Very minor public school.
    **Thankfully so as there was a major scandal involving them and rumours of class 'A' manufacture in the labs.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  16. ForzaWatford

    ForzaWatford Squad Player

    We had A*'s introduced, so you probably did better than me haha! I think the the top 4/5 uni's are basically a closed book these days. You have to get minimum 3 A*'s (the only person I know who went to Oxbridge had 4 A*'s) and do a million extra curricular activities and/or fit some kind of criteria they're short on or go to a school that knows how to get people into them, which my school very much didn't.

    But other uni's will let just about anyone in these days because they're desperate for the cash!
  17. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Incidently, I frequently work with/visit various Oxbridge labs/departments. I always ask my hosts what their college is and, time permitting, could we visit it? Everyone has taken me on a little tour but I'm always shocked by how the vast majority of them have nothing to do with 'college life' and rarely visit. One time I remarked, in Cambridge, that as an ex-pat quite listening to the "Service of Nine Lessons and Carols" on the World Service was a bit a tradition (actually quite spiritual and intimate with a group of friend far away from home) - that year i was given nine pairs of tickets...
  18. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    When I applied, it was not unusual to do so in the autumn term after your A Levels, so at least they knew your grades before they offered you an interview. You still then had to sit the dreaded CJE's (Collegiate Joint Entrance exams), so another round of them. My mate was offered a definite place on the strength of his grades & interview, but I was not. He got a Scholarship, and I got awarded an Exhibition so it all worked out OK. An Exhibition was worth £40 per year, very handy in the mid-70s. I then spent November through to August digging roads for the local council to get some money put aside as even the full grant for which I qualified wouldn't cover sports kit, books etc...just food & rent, really.
    I'm not sure whether the current system of offering places against anticipated grades is better or not; I suppose there are less opportunities to get gap-year jobs nowadays, so maybe there's not much alternative.
  19. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    A bloke in the college a mate of mine went to at Cambridge, a year above us, was a real East End hulking skinhead gangster-type, turning things around after a couple of years in a YOI, but obviously really bright. He submitted his dissertation on "The Misuse of the English Language in Science Fiction." One professor declined to grade it with the comment "I do not find myself sufficiently competent to judge work of this quality". He got a 1st no only shows you never can tell.
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  20. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    I remember very clearly that day a mate at UKC (in 1993) was reading an article in the IoS/Observer that pointed out it was 'cheaper' to pay for a 'year' at Eton than the cost for an inmate for a year at a YOI and decided to become a prison governor...
  21. HappyHornet24

    HappyHornet24 Crapster Staff Member

    This isn’t necessarily the case. My friend’s son is in his first year at Oxford. He did get A* and As for his (3) A Levels but he didn’t get straight A*s.
  22. Happy bunny

    Happy bunny Cheered up a bit

    I went to Cambridge as the first in my family to go to university. One of the ancient colleges but not one infested with ostentatious poshos. With one exception, a friend of mine, I honestly didn't know who had been to public school, though in some cases I could guess through the breadth of their culture. It was never talked about in my circle, historians, lawyers, English lit and musicians. I only discovered at a college reunion a couple of years ago that one of my friends was brought up by a single parent on a Leeds council estate.

    Maybe I was lucky with my college or era (late 60s). Public school was about 50% at that time I think.
  23. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Very much dependent on college.

    ISTR their being a bit of s stink with one of his classmates who got an Oxford offer of AAB but got ABA (I can't remember the subjects) and went through a very messy (legal threats?) appeals process with the college/university.
  24. Timbers

    Timbers Apeman

    Very much so. I went to Sussex in late 90's, first in my family to get 5 GCSEs, let alone A-levels and go to university. My wife's family are Irish immigrants from scum town, all 3 kids are genius. My wife is an assistant head in LB, her brother went the apprenticeship route with Tui and now in charge of maintenance on Elton's private jet and many other people from the rich and famous world but the oldest of the kids is now a lecturer in Geography at Oxford, having gone all the way through there at St. John's College. One of the first things they made her do in her roll was to be in charge of potential applications and focus on those from a so-called lesser background and comprehensive education.

    She tells me constantly that the time of year applications come in, she can tell from just the first few lines of the personal statement who has come from expensive public school education. These school's have people whose job it is to write the statements for Tarquin et al and unfortunately they always read so well, as they all get to do Duke of Edinburgh awards, World Challenge and have seen the world already with school trips, whilst your comprehensive kids just don't have these extra curricular opportunities. St Johns (and other Oxford colleges) have been trying to promote more comprehensive students because of this and now actively do out reach with state comprehensive school, offering summer schools etc to support them. Working in comprehensive education myself, we have seen a rise in our students in recent years, especially last year get into Oxbridge, but it's still only 6 or 7 a year, far too few.
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  25. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    Universities are obliged to take steps to widen participation by the regulator:
  26. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    My very first employer and my current employer, wanted to see original copies of first and second degree certificates within a few weeks of joining. A former student colleague of mine, scraped a Douglas Hurd class Chemistry degree (he wasn't dim but was very lazy), and got a job with Nottingham council who required a 2:2 as a minimal requirement. Naturally, he lied, starting working there, and they checked up on him. He admitted he lied and was immediately sacked. Some places are very strict about this.
  27. El distraído

    El distraído Johnny Foreigner

    As someone who had a privileged upbringing, I went to private school my whole life.

    However, it was only when I moved schools for 6th form and went to boarding school did I realise how disgustingly elitist the whole thing was.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I met plenty of nice people at boarding school. Though I don't really keep in touch with any of them anymore, I consider some of them to be friendly, open-minded and decent individuals.

    However, there are also many I met who I simply could not stand. Snobs who I could tell felt that I did not belong there.

    I have mixed feelings on the whole experience, and some shame, because I don't feel I made the most of my time there.

    That is partly because I lacked any confidence in my abilities, partly because I wasn't mature enough, partly because I never realised how lucky I was and partly because I never really felt like I fitted in.

    I was offered the chance to attend a reunion but turned it down. Maybe I'll consider the next one but I really don't think it's likely I'll go. Why would I want to?

    Anyway, getting back on topic, I am fundamentally against any institution that breeds any sort of culture of elitism and snobbery. That is why I wholeheartedly applaud this lady's efforts to upset the establishment and for her and many others to take pride in who they are.

    Apologies for the confusing state of this post, but I've said some things that I felt I really needed to get off my chest.
  28. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    I've never forgiven Exeter for closing a decent Chemistry Department in 2005 because the Chemistry courses were too expensive. Have since told any potential students to give it a wide berth.
  29. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    During my time at Sheffield in the 80's, the posh kids tended to gravitate towards one Halls of Residence in particular called Tapton, which they referred to as Tappers. Off to Tappers for Luncheon.
  30. reg_varney

    reg_varney Academy Graduate

    Another former colleague who was privately educated in West London, and also pretty bright, wanted to do a Biological Sciences degree at Warwick because he really liked the look of the course, which was extremely well taught and very well thought of. His teachers were apoplectic that he wasn't going for Oxbridge entrance and inflating their headline figure, and so they basically disowned him. He was very, very scathing of his sixth form experience.
  31. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    Chemistry departments always seem to be the first target for savings.
  32. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    When the first round of closures (and I would add in Physics departments too) were announced in the late 90's early 00's I was shocked by the lack of raised voices of support from our 'colleagues' in the humanities departments. It's feeling I still can't shake from my mind when I have dealings with them (professional or social) to this day.

    Mind you, our 'union' the RSC were pretty piss-poor too: releasing a 'plan' that the only non-Oxbridge chemistry department in the UK would be Nottingham... Kent's decision was odd - after some lobbying from Pfizer (RIP) they would keep their department (Space Sciences and Physics went) but they would have to rename it and the could call it anything they liked as long as it didn't have the word 'chemistry' in the title.
  33. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    BACK ON THREAD: I remember talking to a very posh friend of my GF there who told me that she only stayed on for a postgrad there (ESF funded MA in social anthropology) because of the hassle of re-housing her horse. Her father was 'something' in finance and had 'got' her an LEA grant for her undergrad degree which, combined with the ESF money had covered the nag's stabling/livery fees for the past 4 years...
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  34. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    ...and in the Universities' defence: I think it was the shock of the numbers of ex-polys getting university status. The (local council/authority 'owned') poly's chemistry (and physics) departments raison d'etre was the work closely with local businesses industry supplying their training needs (whether it was skilled-workers or short/CPD courses for their staff) and research abilities that were strongly tied to industries' manufacturing capabilities. Something that it took a long time for the more traditional 'academic' universities to match especially with the research councils' reorganisation. It's something I see everyday with my colleagues' 'woeful' knowledge of colloidal and surfactant science and scale-up from the lab bench to an industrial process.
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  35. Since63

    Since63 Reservist

    Because the authorities think they are really Alchemy depts & should be able to create funds out of waste paper?

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