Simon Hughes, the government's adviser on access to higher education and the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, considers that universities should increase the intake of pupils from state schools. If the fees are increased up to £9,000 a year, then not only privately educated pupils should have chances for entering universities. This will be a great essay
of university officials and they must pass it.
Simon Hughes said: "I think my message to the universities is…You cannot expect to go on as you are. It has failed miserably." In his other speech he claimed that universities should no longer expect only students from the private sector to show the best results at exams
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The main issue that Hughes is going to undertake is to make clear the expectations of universities that plan to charge fees above £6,000. He is supported by the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg who believes that there is a disproportion between middle and upper class students.
The situation over the private school pupils’ dominance can put loyalty and trust to the Conservative party at risk. Some time ago the draft guidance on access was issued by ministers. According to this guidance the preference in providing university places will be given to privately educated pupils although ministers are expected to give opportunities to applications from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Hughes criticized the guidance: "If you're really going to be radical about these things, then you have to say 'access' means you seek to reflect society in your recruitment policy. And most people in society go to local authority schools, not to private schools, and therefore most people from all universities, including Russell Group universities, should do that. And it doesn't mean lowering standards."