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The Guardian, 17/03/2015, p.8, Sally Weale

Bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind after their GCSEs and are almost half as likely to achieve three A-levels as their better-off peers, according to research published on Tuesday. Poorer youngsters’ life chances are further compromised as they are considerably less likely to study the sort of A-levels that will help them get into leading universities. The report by Oxford University’s Department of Education found that just 35% of disadvantaged students (distinguished by their being on free school meals) who were identified as highly able at the age of 11 – on grounds that they gained level 5 or above in their end-of-primary-school national tests – went on to get three A-levels compared with 60% of their wealthier counterparts. Only 33% of the disadvantaged group took one or more A-levels in the so-called ‘facilitating subjects’ favoured by universities, such as maths, English, the sciences, humanities and modern languages, compared with 58% of their better-advantaged peers. The report – called ‘Subject to Background’, by Pam Sammons, Katalin Toth and Kathy Sylva – draws on data from more than 3,000 young people who have been tracked through school since the age of three for the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project.

Read more on the Guardian website (opens new window)

More on the same story:

Cultural vouchers will help poorer A-level students keep up, says study
The Independent, 17/03/2015, p.18, Richard Garne

Bright but poor less likely to get good grades
The Times, 17/03/2015, p.22, Greg Hurst

Bright pupils do 50% worse if they're poor
Daily Mail, 17/03/2015, p.19, Eleanor Harding

Homework ‘can help disadvantaged pupils’
Daily Telegraph, 17/03/2015, p.6

Lessons in opportunity
The Independent, 17/03/2015, p.2

Poorer students ‘not studying key A levels’ for selective universities
Times Higher Education Supplement online, 17/03/2015, Jack Grove

Poorer students half as likely to take key A-levels
Times Education Supplement online, 17/03/2015, Helen Ward


The Independent, 17/03/2015, p.10, Jonathan Owen

A generation of British Muslims are being cut adrift from mainstream society, seeing a gulf in prospects which is alienating some and turning them to crime, experts warn. New research from the Centre for Social Investigation (CSI), at Nuffield College, Oxford University, reveals ‘large differences between ethnic minorities in their risks of poverty’. Those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background have around three times the risk of being in poverty as white British people. And they have ‘earnings consistently lower than those of other groups, fluctuating from year to year but averaging around 68 per cent of white earnings’, says a briefing by the centre – one of a series looking at social progress in Britain in recent years. Low earnings play a part in the fact that ‘a very high proportion of the Pakistani/Bangladeshi group are to be found in relative poverty’, the research said.

Read more on The Independent (opens new window)


16/03/2015, 13:07

Adam Elliott-Cooper, from the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University, is interviewed about his research into how black communities in the UK are trying to address issues relating to policing. It follows comments from Trevor Phillips, former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, about political correctness leading to ‘silence on racial issues’.


Die Welt online (Germany), 16/03/2015, Nils Röper

Comment: Nils Röper of Oxford University’s Department of Politics and International Relations writes on German economic policy.

Read more on Die Welt website (opens new window)


The Guardian online, 16/03/2015, Karl Mathiesen

Scientists say the devastation caused by Pam, the most powerful cyclone to hit the South Pacific since records began, was aggravated by climate change. However, the effect the changing climate is having on tropical storms remains largely unresolved. Professor Myles Allen, a climate scientist from the University of Oxford, said while there is a suggestion cyclones may become more intense with climate change, science does not necessarily support the president of Vanuatu’s assertion that climate change was causing more storms. ‘Basic thermodynamics means that a warmer atmosphere, all other things being equal, makes more intense cyclones possible,’ said Allen. ‘But this does not mean cyclones have necessarily become more likely: indeed, the latest assessment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated explicitly that there is no clear evidence at present for any human-induced increase in tropic-wide cyclone frequency.’

Read more on The Guardian website (opens new window)

Radio: Drivetime, BBC Radio Oxford 

16/03/2015, 17:41

Report about the role that climate change could have played in Cyclone Pam is followed by an interview with Professor Tim Palmer, Director of the Programme on Modelling and Predicting Climate at Oxford University. 

Listen again 
(Around 1:39 on the clock)


Huffington Post (USA), 16/03/2015, Lionel Rolfe

Article about the history of plans to build a five-mile tunnel between Ling Beach and Pasadena, California. Activists opposing the building of the freeway include Jane Soo Hoo, who credits a lot of her perspective to the work of Bent Flyvbjerg, the founding Chair of Major Programme Management at Oxford University.

Read more on the Huffington Post website (opens new window)