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Oxford will allow in pupils with three B grades to help young people who have suffered ‘grave disadvantage’

  • Pupils with three B grades at A-Level can study a foundation degree at Oxford  
  • Up to 50 students who suffered ‘grave disadvantage’ will be invited to university
  • The prestigious institution usually asks for grades between A*A*A* and AAA 

Pupils with three B grades at A-level will be able to study at Oxford if they suffered ‘grave disadvantage’, the university announced yesterday.

From next year, 50 students will take a foundation year to help them catch up before progressing to a traditional three-year degree.

Oxford usually asks for grades of between A*A*A and AAA – but entry to the foundation year, for those eligible, will require a minimum of BBB or AAB, depending on the course.

It comes after Cambridge University announced a similar plan last week. 

The Oxford scheme, called Astrophoria, is to help those who have academic potential but ‘experienced grave disadvantage’, such as growing up in care.

Aerial view of Oxford city, including college buildings and spires

From next year, 50 students will take a foundation year to help them catch up before progressing to a traditional three-year degree at Oxford

Meanwhile, the head of Cambridge has said that Oxbridge will admit fewer private school pupils to help increase diversity and inclusion.

Professor Stephen Toope yesterday said the universities ‘intend to reduce’ their privately-educated intake to ‘welcome others’.

As a result, the ‘premium’ for attending a top independent school will shrink, he told The Times.

Oxford usually asks for grades of between A*A*A and AAA ¿ but entry to the foundation year, for those eligible, will require a minimum of BBB or AAB, depending on the course

Oxford usually asks for grades of between A*A*A and AAA – but entry to the foundation year, for those eligible, will require a minimum of BBB or AAB, depending on the course

The scheme will target state school pupils who have significant academic potential, but who have experienced severe personal disadvantage or disruptions to their education.

The foundation year is aimed at developing their academic skills, self-belief and confidence so that they are equipped to take on a degree.

Those that reach the required level of academic standard will progress to an Oxford degree without having to reapply.

Professor Stephen Toope, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge University

Professor Stephen Toope, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge University

Anyone unable to reach the standard will be supported to apply for degree programmes at other universities.

The foundation year is being advertised by UCAS and is available at 10 Oxford colleges.

Louise Richardson, Oxford’s vice-chancellor, said the scheme would have a ‘transformative impact on the lives of the smartest students who have experienced grave disadvantage’.

It comes as Oxford’s admissions report showed yesterday the proportion of state school pupils gaining a place had risen from 58 per cent in 2017 to 68 per cent in 2021.

In the same period, the proportion of ethnic minority students rose from 18 per cent to 25 per cent, while the proportion from disadvantaged areas rose from 11 per cent to 17 per cent.

Both Oxford and Cambridge have been under intense political pressure to admit more disadvantaged students, amid claims they are elitist.

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council and a former head of Harrow, said that school type was not ‘a proxy for background or an indicator of socioeconomic advantage or disadvantage’.

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Source: Daily Mail

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