Hackney MP campaigns for Hackney students being denied top university places because of poor maths

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch - Credit: submitted

The Prime Minister said he would look into the issue of Hackney students being denied a place at some of the UK’s top universities because of poor GCSE math results.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, raised the problem at the Prime Minister’s Question Time last week.

She was concerned that students from the borough with outstanding A-Level results are being denied university places due to low GCSE grades in maths, even though foreign students whose are not up to standard on the subject receive coaching to bring them up to speed. No extra support is offered to Hackney students.

Addressing David Cameron, she said: “Overseas students who are offered places at top British universities get extra coaching in English and maths, but hard-working Hackney students from poor backgrounds with top A-level predictions are not even offered a place if they have a grade C in maths.

“Two able pupils at a Hackney secondary school in one of the most deprived parts of my constituency have been offered a place at a good university on condition that they secure two As and a B in their A-levels. The university is willing to negotiate on those grades, but will not discuss their C grades in GCSE maths. They will need B grades [by resitting the exams].”

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Mr Cameron responded saying he was “very happy to look at the specific issue” but added “we ought to encourage retakes and more work. The reason for that is that there is not a job in the world that does not require good English and maths. That is a very important message to go out.”

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