Havering pupils aren’t applying to Oxbridge
Havering school children are among the least ambitious in London, worrying statistics appear to show, with very few applying for places at Oxford and Cambridge.
Only 15 secondary pupils from Dagenham and Rainham applied to the top universities last year – the lowest of all 68 London Parliamentary constituencies.
And just 26 University and College Admissions Services (UCAS) applications were sent from Romford to the top universities, among the lowest number in London.
Yet 230 pupils in wealthy Richmond Park, in the west, applied – around 15 times more than in Dagenham and Rainham.
The disparity exists, despite Havering boasting some of the most successful school exam results in London.
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Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said that aspiration was rising in schools and communities in the area, but “more needed to be done.”
“Applications for Oxbridge need to be encouraged,” he said. “Sadly some in the community would view Oxbridge and Cambridge as a different world but that is gradually changing.
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“Kids in Havering and Barking and Dagenham are just as good as in other boroughs.
“These results are changing over time. People in the borough aspire to be the best and we must do all we can to support them.”
Cambridge University said it was trying to reach out to bright pupils from schools with little experience of sending students to Oxbridge, and who have few family members with higher education experience.
St Edwards Church of England Comprehensive School student Billy Cavell, from Romford, recently tried out life as Cambridge undergraduate, in its shadowing scheme.
He was one of 300 pupils who teamed up with current undergraduates, joining in with lectures, supervisions, and social events.
Billy said: “It’s great to know that alongside education, there is room for a social life too.”
Taz Rasul, access officer for the university, said: “We know that bright students can be put off applying by misconceptions about what it’s like at a university like Cambridge. “Others just might not have thought about what Cambridge can offer them as a place to live and study. The shadowing scheme is designed to give them a chance to try out Cambridge life for themselves, so that they can make an informed decision about their future.”