27/11/2012 Newsnight


27/11/2012

Does the government's employment scheme work? Is Murdoch worried by advertisers or Leveson? Foreign words in dictionaries. And news from Israel and Palestine. With Jeremy Paxman.


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family from future problems. Much as they may want to protect them

:00:04.:00:12.

from events, it may not be the decision in the event -- in the end.

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Tonight on Newsnight Scotland, should our top universities be

:00:14.:00:17.

forced to take more students from poor backgrounds? And should they

:00:17.:00:20.

be fined if they don't? St Andrews says it's trying but

:00:20.:00:23.

it's not prepared to lower its standards. Does the university have

:00:23.:00:26.

a point? Good evening. This looks like a

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classic conflict of right against right. The Scottish Government

:00:29.:00:32.

wants more students from poor backgrounds to go to university.

:00:32.:00:35.

The universities go along to an extent, but insist they can't lower

:00:35.:00:38.

their standards and are suspicious of any suggestion of quotas. Today

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St Andrews became the latest to try to square the circle. But will it

:00:42.:00:52.
:00:52.:00:53.

work? Here's Seonag Mackinnon. It is sometimes referred to as

:00:53.:00:57.

Scotland's Oxford, and with the future king and queen among its

:00:57.:01:03.

graduates, little wonder. But even that Prince William has shown his

:01:03.:01:07.

commitment to recruiting more youngsters from poorer backgrounds.

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The appeal we are launching today aims to raise �100 million to

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invest in people and ideas. Insuring that the brightest

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students, that is you and me of course, come to St Andrews

:01:23.:01:26.

regardless of background and circumstances.

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Ba Miller and Christopher, who come from state schools in Fife, save

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the reputation is overstated and should not put applicants offer.

:01:36.:01:44.

When I first came, it was strange hearing all the accents. My room-

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mate was from Chicago, and when we first met each other I was so

:01:48.:01:52.

excited about seeing an American and he was so excited about seeing

:01:52.:01:59.

a Scotsman, but we were not too intimidated by each other's accents.

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St Andrews is very international, and that is one of the things I

:02:02.:02:07.

like about being here. It is a bit intimidating if you come from

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somewhere local, but it is one of the best parts of being at the

:02:12.:02:17.

University. By last year's St Andrews only

:02:17.:02:21.

admitted 14 from Scotland's most disadvantaged homes. Today the

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university says it hopes to increase that to 20, set aside an

:02:27.:02:33.

extra �400,000 for bursaries. Student leaders are underwhelmed.

:02:33.:02:38.

By would expect a few -- a bit more ambition. It seems they are coming

:02:38.:02:43.

up with excuses about what they can't do rather than saying what

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they can do. We have seen good evidence from elsewhere but you can

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look at offering slightly different rates depending on the type of

:02:53.:02:58.

school you have been at. But the university says it makes an

:02:58.:03:03.

offer to the majority of those who apply from poorer homes, and it

:03:03.:03:07.

says that Vestey on campus cannot just be the responsibility of

:03:07.:03:13.

university leaders. -- diversity. It is about the wider cultural of

:03:13.:03:20.

attainment in Scotland. It is wrong to say it is just the point of

:03:20.:03:24.

leaving secondary school and entering university. Is it down to

:03:24.:03:30.

the schools that not enough students have the ambition? I think

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it is everything, and the universities can do more to create

:03:35.:03:40.

aspiration, but we also have to have engagement from everywhere

:03:40.:03:46.

else in society in relation to the wider societal effort.

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Sir is Scotland failing its poorest students? In 2011 across Scotland,

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2.5% of them got at least three A grades in their hires. In East

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Renfrewshire it was 5.6%. Edinburgh, just 1.4%.

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They there are about 220 people from those backgrounds who have the

:04:13.:04:17.

basic qualifications to come here, and that would be three a pass

:04:17.:04:26.

higher exams. If we can take 20 from that 220, that is 10%. We did

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not represent 10% of Scotland's capacity in Scotland's education.

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St Andrew's say they do not want to admit...

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The Scottish Government says it understands the dilemma and

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commence steps forward, but warns universities it may apply more

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pressure. Be it is a modest step forward, but it is a step forward

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and I think sick and resistor be commended for recognising the need

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to be admit students from elsewhere. I want to see progress on this -

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every one of Scotland wants to see progress and progress is welcomed.

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They are on Lake -- also right to argue they are not the only players.

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There are ways to get children from poorer backgrounds into further and

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higher education. Everyone agrees to few from modest

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homes win places on campuses, but the big question is billed the

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threat from -- of a cut from public funding UCCA any time soon, or

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achieve a breakthrough? I'm joined now from Dundee by St

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Andrews University's vice-principal responsible for admissions, Stephen

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Magee. Here in Glasgow is Gerry Lyons, head teacher of St Andrews

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secondary school in Carntyne, who's speaking on behalf of the School

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Leaders Scotland organisation. And in Edinburgh Dr Cristina Ianelli,

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:05:59.:06:01.

an educational sociologist specialising in social mobility.

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21st of all explain, this document that you should today with these

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commitments on it - what is the status of that, is that an

:06:11.:06:18.

agreement you have made with the Scottish Government? Partly. Many

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of these things which are in the statement, for example the increase

:06:23.:06:29.

in bursaries, up or articulation of routes with further education

:06:29.:06:35.

colleges, we are doing already. understand that, but there had been

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some suggestions that the Scottish Government might find it

:06:39.:06:46.

universities, but it was not happy we were doing enough to increase

:06:46.:06:53.

intake from poorer backgrounds? the moment we are in the process of

:06:53.:06:57.

negotiating outcome agreements, which is what the Cabinet Secretary

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referred to. These have not been finalised now -- yet. So it would

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in theory be possible for the Scottish funding council to come

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back and say, that is not good enough? Bay would ask us by our

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ambition is at that scale, and we have tried to explain to date why

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we want to put in as much effort as we can't, but we are committed to

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this absolutely. We have to get across the scale of the problem,

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and a great deal of effort is going to have to go in to accept Bevis

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more changes. This is you're opening bid, from what you are

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saying? No, there was an outcome agreement last year, but this was a

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prototype. This is part of the ongoing process of discussing a

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widely just how complex this problem is, and showing each

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institution's commitment to solving it. But the point is you have to

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come to an agreement, you have not done it yet, and this is your

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attempt to say, is that good enough? This is part of it, there

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is more to it. Presumably, is there are thinning it in the university

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but you are being asked to do two things but or contradictory? You

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are in a situation where in England they now have tuition fees, so you

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are under great pressure to keep standards up, particularly in

:08:38.:08:43.

research, but on the other hand you have to take people from poorer

:08:43.:08:48.

backgrounds? That is correct, there is the possibility of a

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contradiction, but I think we can do both those things. But all of

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this institution within which I work is committed to excellence in

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teaching research, but also being accessible. If we want to be

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accessible, and we want to allow young Scots to rub shoulders with

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very bright people from the rest of the world. A commitment on you're

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part to take six more students from poorer backgrounds is hardly

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staggering. There are the best part of 30,000 places available in

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Scottish Higher Education four degrees each year, in St Andrews

:09:31.:09:37.

about 500. If we increase the number to 20, that 20 represents

:09:37.:09:43.

quite a big number out of the hall capacity. I want to bring the other

:09:43.:09:48.

people in, but a lot of people will understand your predicament as a

:09:48.:09:52.

university, and many of your Ordnance may have merit. The

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problem of this idea of we will do our bit, but it is a broader

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societal problem, is that everybody says it is a broad problem to do

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with society and Ben Franklin nothing happens. Up by am hoping

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something does happen. To the evidence in the coming years will

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show we are actually doing quite a lot. Dr Cristina Ianelli, do

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sympathise with their predicament? I do, because I think it is a

:10:24.:10:30.

complex phenomenon. So-so inequalities are starting from when

:10:30.:10:38.

people on board. There is no doubt that people who experience live

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conditions which or very disadvantaged, they bring these

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disadvantages onwards in their life, and in the school and in the labour

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market. There is no doubt that this is not just education, the problem

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is more a societal problem, and in that -- inequalities which exist in

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our society. But they have an obligation to counteract this

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imbalance. Gerry Lyons, do you think the University of ordering

:11:18.:11:24.

enough? Imagine it if you scroll, we were trying to get eight more

:11:24.:11:30.

students to get better grades? Fundamentally it is about the

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intake. I think you have to engage with the problem of and parts of

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the problem you can impact on, and certainly in schools that is what

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we try to do. There are a range of things we can do to counteract

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disadvantage and give young people opportunities that perhaps might be

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deprived -- might deprive them if it were not for the quality of the

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work the schools do. A if you look at the statistics for Scotland in

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general, there does not seem to be any evidence that that is happening.

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By would dispute that. In the two schools are served in Glasgow, we

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increased the number of people going on to universities by 11% in

:12:14.:12:24.
:12:24.:12:25.

one and 6% in the other in the last How many more students do you have

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going to university? We now have 25% of school levers going on the

:12:31.:12:38.

university. My school was 1640 young people. Of those 1640, how

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many last year got what Stephen Magee would want, and correct me if

:12:41.:12:51.
:12:51.:12:51.

I am wrong, I think is three As and a B. Three As and a B. Could cha be

:12:51.:12:55.

one sitting? They can come back in the sixth year. In the main one

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sitting is to be preferred. many of your students... In one

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sitting you would talk about 6% of that year group. That is the fourth

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year, year group. You are talking about 25 young people. Right. In

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fact you think you would have 25 young people coming out of your

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school, one school, that could go to Stephen Magee's university.

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Absolutely. Do they want do that? Interestingly, know they no they

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don't. That is one of the issues that Steven has to address, of the

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220 young people from deprived areas who got the necessary

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qualification to go to St Andrews only 55 applied to go there. 34 of

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them were offered placed and only 14 took them. There is an issue for

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St Andrews which I am sure Steven is happy to engage with, which is

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about how do you make St Andrews more of a viable option for young

:13:50.:13:53.

people from deprived backgrounds, and challenge that perception,

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which is that is for another group of people in our society and not

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for us.. If I can come in, I think that is absolutely right. I would

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dearly love to be able to persuade my fellow Glaswegians is a good

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option. Why do you think will have a problem? It is a very ugly phrase

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but we are least local credit union versety in Scotland. Possibly the

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least lobg in the UK. 95% of our students don't come from this area.

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They have to commute, they have to live here. Typically we are

:14:29.:14:32.

attracting good student from a variety of schools rather than a

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large number from a small variety as you might find in Glasgow. In

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the case of Gerry's school... wouldn't find that in Edinburgh?

:14:41.:14:46.

is a large urban population, it is not the same at all. In the case of

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Gerry's school. We had six application in the last were to

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three years and two entrants which I think is about pretty good

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average, given the numbers we are talking about. We can do more.

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you think there is a problem as it were on the other side, t it is not

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that universities need to do more to attract people from poorer

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background, but there is a barrier to people perceiving. Even if they

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do have the academic results, they perceive they don't want to go?

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agree. When I speak with a widening access with from the University of

:15:22.:15:27.

Edinburgh. They complain they don't have enough applicants with lower

:15:27.:15:33.

social background, so there is a perception among students from less

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advantaged background they can't fit in in those university, in that

:15:37.:15:44.

sense we can do much more, and the university can do nor show it is

:15:44.:15:48.

not an elitist university. It is an elitist credit union versety

:15:48.:15:52.

because it produces high quality research. This is the kind of

:15:52.:15:55.

things which should attract everybody, all the student

:15:55.:16:01.

population, not just the most advantaged students. What do you

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student, the ones who get the pass, what do they say to you about why

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they don't want to go places like St Andrews? They very much focus on,

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I think, the local university, a lot of them apply to Glasgow,

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Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian and their focus is very much there.

:16:20.:16:23.

Interestingly because those universities engage directly with

:16:23.:16:26.

us. Our young people have link programmes with those university,

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they spend time in them, they are mentored by students from those

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universities, there is a widening access programme there. Stephen

:16:35.:16:42.

right, we have sent students to St Andrews but in my time I have never

:16:42.:16:46.

engaged from anyone from St Andrews although I would be delight dod so.

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I think that is an invitation. would delighted to take it up. I

:16:51.:16:56.

will write to Gerry in the morning. That is excellent. There is a high

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Newsnight Scotland commissioning fee! Of course! We can discuss

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that! We write to every high school in Scotland. Let us they have 350.

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We visit 100 every year. If you consider the number of students

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that enter St Andrews in a given year from Scotland, about 500. We

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are probably getting on average one or two kids, not from every school

:17:21.:17:26.

every year, but pretty much you know, good standard of, at that

:17:26.:17:30.

level. Right. OK. I think all of you agree, that there is a problem

:17:30.:17:34.

here. And it is a fairly wide based problem. But the danger is, as we

:17:34.:17:38.

talked about earlier, if we keep saying it is very broad based,

:17:38.:17:44.

nothing gets down. I am curious, Dr Cristina Ianelli, if there were two

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or three things we could do to address this problem of

:17:48.:17:55.

underachievement, if you like, what would they be? Well, Well, some

:17:55.:17:59.

international research has shown that the best way actually to

:17:59.:18:04.

improve the educational attainment of people from lower social

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backgrounds is really rising standards, not damping down the

:18:09.:18:13.

standards. We wouldn't do any favour to them, or to our education

:18:13.:18:17.

system. So you would agree with Stephen Magee, under no

:18:17.:18:20.

circumstances should St Andrews for example, there shouldn't be a quota

:18:20.:18:24.

system, they shouldn't be taking students of lesser academic

:18:24.:18:29.

qualification just because they are from poor backgrounds? Well it's a

:18:29.:18:33.

difficult issue, I think not always educational attainment is showing

:18:33.:18:38.

the real potential of people. If you are born in a lower social

:18:38.:18:42.

background with less resources in a school which is disadvantaged, you

:18:42.:18:46.

have not had the same possibility to achieve highly as people from

:18:46.:18:50.

other area, so in some ways I am not saying that they have to reduce

:18:50.:18:56.

the standards, I am saying maybe they should consider clearly this

:18:56.:19:03.

other circumstances, if, you know, they can achieve, they can accept

:19:03.:19:07.

to students who have less than three As but have some other ways

:19:07.:19:12.

of measures the potential, the ability of the students, I would

:19:12.:19:17.

endorse that, because I still think again, that students not all

:19:17.:19:21.

students have the same possibility to achieve those high standards.

:19:21.:19:27.

alternative to this. What would you, Gerry, what would you suggest?

:19:27.:19:32.

couple of practical suggestion, one is we consider a more sophisticated

:19:32.:19:38.

approach to what other university - - what are the university admission

:19:38.:19:42.

criteria. There is research going into contextualised application and

:19:42.:19:48.

looking at the circumstances of a young person round gaveing five As

:19:48.:19:53.

at Higher, if you are a young carer or come from a deprived background

:19:53.:19:55.

or some other challenging circumstances that some young

:19:55.:19:59.

people come from, is at time a greater achieve and bigger

:19:59.:20:03.

challenge. The argument against that is you have to stop this at

:20:04.:20:08.

some point. There is a good reason for that, because when people go

:20:08.:20:13.

out into the big wide world and get a job, employers are not going to

:20:13.:20:18.

say you want to be an engineer, we understand you don't really

:20:18.:20:21.

understand aerodynamics very well but you come from a poor background

:20:21.:20:26.

so we will take you on. Totally agree. I have no desire to lower

:20:26.:20:31.

aspiration, I would like a better of what high achievement is for

:20:31.:20:37.

them. The other thing about that research done by the top up

:20:37.:20:40.

programme at Glasgow University showed people who went through the

:20:40.:20:44.

top up programme performed better at university, than young people

:20:44.:20:47.

from so-called wealthier backgrounds, by the time they left

:20:47.:20:52.

university, so there is no sense those young people... Are

:20:52.:20:55.

disadvantage, in fact they did better. Very brief last word to

:20:56.:21:00.

Stephen Magee. Very brief. You have heard what they want from you. What,

:21:00.:21:04.

one thing you would like from them? I would like to work with them to

:21:04.:21:07.

encourage aspiration, that is the most important thing Welsh are

:21:07.:21:11.

committed to do it. If we can raise aspiration across the piece, that

:21:11.:21:15.

will help everybody. All right. We will have to leave it there. Thank

:21:15.:21:19.

you very much indeed. Quick look at you very much indeed. Quick look at

:21:19.:21:29.
:21:29.:21:38.

the front pages. The BBC is on the The Independent, there it is

:21:38.:21:43.

supergrass who held key to Russian fraud is found dead in Surrey.

:21:43.:21:46.

Ministers blame each other for low growth according to the financial

:21:46.:21:56.
:21:56.:21:59.

times. That is it, I will be back Different complexion to weather in

:21:59.:22:03.

the next few days, more typical of late November and December, mostly

:22:03.:22:08.

dry, which has to be good news. Not quite there yet. Some showers still

:22:08.:22:11.

affecting parts of North East England, I am not anticipating huge

:22:11.:22:16.

amounts of rain. In fact a bit of snow developing on the North York

:22:16.:22:19.

Moors. Other county eastern England are prone to one or two showers but

:22:19.:22:24.

the emphasis is on dry weather, and further west there will be few if

:22:24.:22:27.

any showers. Sunshine in Wales and south-west England, so the clearing

:22:27.:22:30.

up operation can continue here. Cold though, the wind coming from

:22:30.:22:33.

the north. Temperatures never getting that high, despite the

:22:33.:22:37.

sunshine. Sicks and sevens will be the peak in most places. Up across

:22:37.:22:40.

Northern Ireland, after a frosty is that right, I think it is set to be

:22:40.:22:44.

a fine day, with plenty of sunshine. The risk of a shower to the north

:22:44.:22:48.

coast. Across the north of Scotland there will be a few wintry showers.

:22:48.:22:54.

Most of Scotland will stay dry and bright. Two or three degrees

:22:54.:22:56.

through the central bout belt. Northern parts of the country,

:22:56.:23:01.

bright and dry, the emphasis on frosty night, bright chilly days,

:23:01.:23:05.

further south as well, most places will be dry. There is the risk of

:23:05.:23:09.

one or two wintry showers as we get through Thursday, and on into

:23:09.:23:14.

Friday, but there few and far between on Thursday it will be

:23:14.:23:17.

Does the government's employment scheme work? Is Murdoch worried by advertisers or Leveson? Plus, foreign words in dictionaries and a report on Israel and Palestine. With Jeremy Paxman.


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