MP defends system which saw Whitby student denied university place

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A TORY MP has defended the university placings system which saw a straight As Whitby student denied a place in higher education.

Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said it may even stand Devon Howard in better stead if he doesn’t go to university this year and has a gap year instead.

Last Friday the Gazette reported how despite gaining an A* and three As in his A-levels the student at Prior Purseglove who wanted to do a degree in philosophy, politics and economics had been turned down by the four universities he had applied to.

Mr Goodwill said that Oxford, York, Durham and Warwick were among the top six establishments in the country but denied there was a reluctance to take students who have a state school background like Whitby Community College where Devon, of Helredale Road, did his GCSEs.

He said: “I congratulate Devon on his results. They are four of the top six or seven universities in the country. They will have a fantastically high standard of applicants and will be over-subscribed many times.

“But, if anything universities are being encouraged to take people from state schools. Oxford and Cambridge are constantly being criticised for taking students from public schools where they tend to get good results.”

Devon put that fact he was denied a place down to more people applying for places before fees go up and Mr Goodwill said while they were increasing from £3000 to £9000 graduates didn’t have to start paying them back until they were earning £21,000 rather than the £15,000 threshold which applies now.

He advised Devon, who eventually wants to go into politics, to spend his gap year gaining experience.

He added: “My advice to somebody who wants to go into politics is to go away and do something else first until you are in your thirties.

“Demonstrate expertise in other areas and gain experience. When people are electing MPs or councillors they look for somebody who has experience or a track record.”