ONLY 6% of Palmer’s College students went to “good” universities last year, Thurrock Council revealed.
Two weeks ago, Your Thurrock revealed that in 2009-10 on students from Thurrock went up to either Oxford or Cambridge. Two students accepted places (inc YT blogger Jessica Pham) but they both deferred.
We interviewed Harris Academy chief, Chris Tomlinson who has made it his mission to reverse this trend and believes his sixth form is one of the solutions to this problem.
The cause has been taken up by senior Conservative councillor, Mike Revell who at Wednesday nights meeting of the full council slammed the borough’s poor record.
In bullish mood, he asked the council’s portfolio holder, cllr Oliver Gerrish to respond to statistics that saw not a single student go to Oxbridge in 2009-10 and less than 50% go to an university that same year. A figure that saw the borough in the bottom six in the country.
Cllr Gerrish said: “As GCSE results have risen in the borough above national averages it is important that our students have the highest aspirations for their progression.
He said that while it was important “to ensure even higher numbers of pupils achieve places at the research intensive universities such as Oxford and Cambridge and the Russell group” it was also worth noting that many students stayed closer to home.
Cllr Gerrish said: “I am pleased to report from our locally collected data that from Palmer’s Sixth Form College in 2011, three students went to Oxbridge — not zero as some have said.
“One went to Cambridge to read Natural Sciences, two to Oxford, one to read Law, the other Medicine. This year there are four Oxbridge offers already at this early stage.”
He added: “In 2011, 520 of Palmer’s students progressed to university, with 32 going to the Russell group. Unsurprisingly the most popular destinations were local with 40 choosing the University of Greenwich followed by 33 progressing to ARU and 26 going to Essex.”
Cllr Gerrish also said that the council had requested more detailed information from the Higher Education Skills Agency as this information is not routinely sent to local authorities at this stage in the year.
And he added: “With additional sixth form places being provided by schools and academies as well as other providers, we are planning for even greater achievement in the future.”