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29 Jan, 2020 12:34

‘I have a tiny violin somewhere’: Private schools roasted online after complaining about plans to get more poor students into uni

‘I have a tiny violin somewhere’: Private schools roasted online after complaining about plans to get more poor students into uni

Leading private schools in England have criticized plans to improve access to top universities for poorer students, saying it could lead to discrimination of rich kids based on “class,” provoking ridicule on social media.

The Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), an association that represents some of the UK’s most expensive private schools, voiced concerns about proposals published on Wednesday by the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England.

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Plans being put forward by the regulator include a promise to halve the access gap at England’s most selective institutions in the next five years, increasing the amount of disadvantaged students by 6,500 a year from 2024-25.

Mike Buchanan, the HMC’s executive director, claimed universities should expand to accommodate as many “truly suitable students” as needed, rather than “rob some students of a future to award it to others.” He argued that institutions must look at their international students intake rather than restrict places to UK students “based on their class.”

The seemingly hostile reaction from elite private schools has, perhaps unsurprisingly, prompted much mockery online, with many people expressing little sympathy with their “predicament,” with one person tweeting: “I have a tiny violin. Somewhere.”

Guardian columnist Frances Ryan sarcastically remarked that being discriminated based on class sounded like a “terrible education system,” adding: “We should totally do something to fix that.” Others online mercilessly attacked the premise that the “kids of the rich and greedy” deserve sympathy because they’re being attacked based on their “accident-of-birth privilege.”

Some accused the private schools of being “actual Marvel villains,” while another Twitter user claimed the “lack of self-awareness is astounding.”

Kalwant Bhopal, a professor of education and justice at Birmingham University, said that it was clear that young people going to independent fee-paying schools were “more likely to be middle-class,” adding that “these schools continue to perpetuate privilege.”

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