Patrick Ainley on widening participation and system reform

In a post for the LSE British Politics & Policy Blog, CDBU member Advisory Board member, Patrick Ainley argues that widening participation to higher education has not led to fair or equal access to higher education or outcomes in the labour market as systemic inequalities have deepened between institutions and subjects. System-wide reform is therefore necessary as well as larger societal change.

“Fifty years ago the Robbins Report on higher education initiated a phase of progressive reform to change society through education. Robbins recommended expansion of HE beyond the limited pool previously considered educable to all ‘qualified by ability and attainment’. Robbins thus preserved a selective system and was not an entitlement or even expectation of HE for all who graduated high school as in the republican French and original US model. Following Robbins, the official introduction of comprehensive schools from 1965 was not accompanied by curricular reform so that comprehensives still competed for selective university entry with the surviving grammars and private schools on the uneven playing field of academic A-levels …”

… read the rest of the article here.