Oxford Access Lecture

This is a brief post-event report on the presentation I gave at Brasenose College, Oxford on 28 April 2015.

P1030046I had been invited to give an Access Lecture to an invited audience of University admissions and outreach staff and other interested parties.

The groundwork for my presentation is set out in an earlier post – How strong is Oxbridge access? (March 2015) – which provides a full analysis of the access agreements and outreach provision undertaken at each university.

This post provides the powerpoint that accompanied my presentation and the record to date of the Twitter discussion about it, under the hashtag #oxgap.

I have extended an open invitation to participants to continue the discussion further through this medium, should they wish. If there is further discussion I will upload it here.

I would like to place on record my gratitude to everyone at Oxford, for taking the trouble to invite me in the first place, for extending such a warm welcome and for interacting so positively and constructively with the arguments I put to them.

I was hugely reassured by their openness and willingness to engage with objective and evidence-based criticism, which can only augur well as they continue their efforts to improve access to Oxford for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.



My presentation is embedded below.


Twitter discussion to date

Here is the discussion to date under the #oxgap hashtag. The most recent tweets are at the top.



In recent months protecting the equal rights of disadvantaged learners to access the educational support they need, regardless of prior attainment, has been an increasingly uphill battle.

Many organisations have been arguing for pupil premium to be redistributed, so it is doubled for low attainers and halved for middle and high attainers. I continue to press them to justify this idea, so far to little avail.

Elsewhere, influential journalists and social media commentators have begun to suggest that there is an imbalance in favour of higher attainers that should be rectified. I have done my best to challenge that ideology.

It has not escaped me that such views seem particularly prevalent in the generation after mine. I find this particularly dispiriting, having devoted considerable effort to persuading my own generation of the equal rights argument.

It was delightful to spend a little time amongst people of all generations equally committed to improving the lot of disadvantaged high attainers. I wish them every success.



April 2015












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