The Financial Times has a rather technical piece on the effect of some changes in how British Universities will be funded. Basically, the universities have been told
- top students won’t count against your quota.
- quotas will be cut in proportion.
- non-university institutes of higher learning have successfully obtained 10000 quota places that were previously held by universities.
The author of the FT article has analysed carefully how this will affect universities, and concludes
- Universities will compete aggressively to attract strong students
- Universities which already attract a lot of good students will be tempted to expand
- Expensive universities which don’t attract a lot of good students will find themselves in financial trouble
- Poor students will find it harder and harder to get a university place
Here, a “good” student is one whose top three grades on their A-levels are A, A, B or better. Eventually, it is expected, a student will need three B’s or better to attain a university place.
So what does that mean for kids now in primary school? It means a couple of things
- Firstly, universities will become more differentiated – it will be easier, in the future, to know which are the good universities and which are not.
- Secondly, the bar is being raised. A student with two B’s and a C in 2022 may get no offers at all, as opposed to today.
- Thirdly, life will be sweet for the few students at the top. If you have two A’s and a B under your belt, you’ll have no doubts about getting a place in a course you want. No more quotas, remember?
- Taking these last two points together, it means those last few exam marks become so much more valuable. The student with two B’s and a C will be worse off in 2020, the student with two A’s and a B will be much better off.
If doing just a little bit better will be a whole lot more valuable, what does this mean for a parent or teacher today? Well, you can expect a boom in the private tuition industry, for one. For those with children now in primary school, remember that a good foundation established now will help enormously when “junior” is 6 foot tall and battling acne.
My advice :
- Take an active interest in your child’s education. Bring educational activities into everyday life.
- Go heavy on games, drills and encouragement towards academic performance.
- Support your child’s teacher. They want your kid to do well, so do you. Work with them to help bub succeed.
- Help your child with his or her homework – but don’t do the homework for them! This will help you stay in touch with what’s going on in school, and you’ll discover quickly if your child starts falling behind.
- Maintain open communication with your child. Don’t overwhelm them with high expectations. Always encourage them that they have the ability to improve.
- Overall, be encouraging, creative and diligent. Your child’s schooling was always important for their future. Now it’s become even more so.