Damning report exposes how few Thurrock students go to “good” universities

THURROCK failed to send a single student to either Oxford or Cambridge, a report has shown.

To add educational insult to injury, it was only one of eleven local education authorities in the country to fail to provide a student to the elite universities.

Nine of the boroughs were in northern England. The only other “southern” authority was Plymouth.

To make matters worse, only thirty students went to the Russell Group of universities.

The Russell Group includes universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, York, Exeter and many others.

Compared to the thirty students from Thurrock, 1963 students from Surrey went up to the Russell group.

The report refers to figures from 2009 to 2010.

The paucity of students from Thurrock going to “good” universities has been a major area of concern for the senior schools head-teachers for some time now and has been a driving force not only for them to become academies but also to open up sixth form centres.

Privately, many have been very dismayed to see A* pupils leave at year 11 and simply fail to attain similar grades at A levels.

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: “Priority number one for Thurrock Council is “Improving the education and skills of local people” and it has been working closely with schools to achieve that aim.

“The fact that GCSE results are now above the national average and Key Stage 2 results are improving shows the success Thurrock has had over recent years. Palmer’s, our local sixth form college, is graded outstanding by OFSTED and a number of our first-class secondary schools are now developing sixth forms.

Last year two students went to Oxbridge and 29 to Russell Group universities, about two per cent of the cohort.

Cllr Oliver Gerrish, portfolio holder for education, said: “We welcome the government’s commitment to ensuring that children from communities like Thurrock are expected to do just as well as children from very affluent areas.

“We welcome the challenge because we know the young people of Thurrock are as good as anywhere else.”

He added: “Our intention is that the current generation of the borough’s school students will be filling the top jobs among the many regeneration projects coming here and we will work with our schools and colleges to ensure children in Thurrock have every chance to attend the best universities.”

Over the next few weeks, YT will be interviewing a number of educationalists to assess how this worrying trend can be reversed.

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