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LSE and news reports re: admissions

Reports on LSE admissions in some of today's news media (Thursday March 10) are seriously misleading in suggesting that LSE operates a secret quota for state-school students at the expense of applicants from independent schools. We do not.

We are indeed experimenting with a small pilot scheme (up to 40 places a year) to see whether it is sensible to give a measure of compensation to certain applicants, e.g. those who do especially well at schools where performance levels are generally very poor. Students on this scheme do, of course, displace others - because the government limits how many students we may take in total. But most of those who are displaced are from other state schools, not from the independent sector. So there is no bias against the independent sector. Furthermore, the A-level conditions we set for people on the scheme are the same as those for our other successful applicants.

We think it possible that students who have achieved marvellous grades in unpromising circumstances may well have more potential than some of those who do well in excellent schools, whether state or independent. Of course, we are monitoring the success of the scheme. Early results, certainly not definitive, suggest that in most subjects, students entering under this scheme perform as well as our other students. This may show that their potential is as we suspected.

Dr Ray Richardson
deputy director for teaching and learning, LSE

10 March 2005