January 6th, 2012

Cooking the Books

Given that the system is already at breaking point, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing that the number of university applications is falling, but nearly all the papers this week have agreed that it is happening:

Mirror: “University applications fall 25,000″

Mail: “University applications down by 23,000″

Indy: “University applications down despite late surge”

Times: “Fewer British and European students apply to universities despite surge before deadline”

Telegraph: “University demand falls by 8%”

Guardian: “University applications slip by 8% as fees triple”

Only the FT bucked the trend with: “Students undeterred by higher University fees”

Guess which one of those pieces was written by a former adviser to David Willetts, the Minister responsible for universities?

Take a bow, spinner turned Education Correspondent and blog favourite, Chris Cook of the FT…


  1. 1
    TL says:

    Who cares if applications are down if there are still not enough places for those who do apply?


    • 14

      What? You pay to get the pink ‘un and they still don’t give you the truth?

      How shocking. Never would have thought it…


      • 103
        David laws Lib Dem fiddler says:

        EU students do not pay tuition fees in Scotland. They ought to apply there. The Uk is providing free university education to our EU competitors and giving free health care to the world at large. Is someone in government able to work out the mess they are still making of the economy while telling us it is the number one priority?

        Their policies on welfare, housing and benefits make sure it does NOT pay to work, buy a house or save. No wonder Johnny foreigner wants to come here in their droves.


    • 75
      Ah! Monika says:

      You’ll probably find that 1993 was a poor year for immigration and also for births. Take this into account and proportionally applications were up. Simps.


    • 82
      Rage says:

      How many more ways can a government TAX its people. The War mongering State have bankrupt the capitalist system with their Global Police State mates, and Phoney Drug War State employment systems.
      Pay for your education. Health coming soon and no welfare state, its all change to pay for the bombs and bullets.


      • 141
        Pawn Sandwich says:

        I too am angry at the Labour Tuition fees increase. Lets never forget who introduced this tax on our children.


        • 150
          Rage says:

          Yeah the same government that is in charge now, not the puppets who you see on the TV.


        • 158
          Ex Student says:

          All from memory – but feel free to confirm
          labour in its manifesto – think it was 2003
          on the left hand page 20ish said they would not introduce tuition fees
          six weeks after the election they did just that

          a year of two after, i got calls from students of my old university asking for funds to help needy students.
          they got short shrift – i told them to go after and root out the labour manifesto cheats who introduced overblown fees. when someone smacks you one, smack them back via the universities conferences – you have a huge student voting mass
          have not heard anything further


  2. 2
    Knickers Knackers Knockers says:

    Tragic for the Blair education , education, education legacy in the UK. The nation is falling behind in the space race, where will we be in two years without Golf Course Design Graduates, not to mention Media Studies Graduates to hone reality shows and Z list celebrity competitions?


    • 43
    • 47
      Selohesra says:

      Don’t forget Geography – non-subjects have been degrees for years – all you need for Geography are good crayoning skills.


      • 63
        nellnewman says:

        I think I disagree over geography. It has been a poorly taught subject under labour and few of our kids could name capital cities, major rivers or pick countries and continents out on a map.

        Without a knowledge of the world what are we? sarah palins who think Africa’s a country and nkorea a friend!!

        No we need good quality geography education.


        • 76
          Completely missing the point says:

          Agreed Nell.

          Not long ago, I casually asked the son of a mate just going up to university what the capital of Nicaragua was. All I got in return was a blank stare; and this lad expects to graduate and be a commercial pilot in 3 years’ time.


          • jack regan says:

            Not handy if managua ever becomes a holiday destination


          • Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur says:

            Since Daniel Ortega is presiden Nicaragua is mainly likely to attract dewy eyed student union activists from the 1980s who gave half their grants to the Sandinistas and blamed Thatcher for the fact they were skint.


          • Honest View says:

            A lot of the problem derives from the belief, running for a very long time in educational circles, long before Blair, even Thatcher, and now taken as Holy Writ, that accumulating facts was useless, and expressing youself was everything.
            The result is a generation (or two) that seems to know very little, even whose side Hitler was on, never mind a rough idea of Plato’s philosophy, but has terrific capacity for sounding off, especially on its own behalf.
            I know, a generalisation; I know, there ARE clever and knowledgeable young people; but my goodness there’s a lot of dross.


        • 145
          Eurolander says:

          Geography is a fabulous, serious subject hopelessly taught.


  3. 3
    Evil Landlord says:

    The deadline for UCAS applications is 15 January and I bet the figures released afterwards will show only a very small drop in numbers applying.

    Whers’s Billy ?


  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    i did a korse in meedja studees


    • 20
      Handycock (Teen Fondler) says:

      I have no education whatsoever and my spelling is like yours Anonymous. On another tack, I am trying to rehabilitate myself in my constituency hence this article, I had planted in the local News


      Note no one is allowed to comment on the story so that there can be no criticism of me and there is reference to a meeting held on 9 Dec, which went down like a lead baloon. Nothing else that I have done in my constituency could be found so this meeting will have to do. Notice I am wearing my masonic ring on my left hand little finger, this keeps me safe.

      It’s nice to have the Portsmouth News in my pocket. Boaz.


      • 28
        Joss Taskin says:

        Do all FibDem politicians have the local newspapers in their pocket ?


      • 95
        Tube_Thumper says:

        what a fucking horrible irresponsible nickname you twat. Ban him Guido!!
        I want to kick your bollocks in


      • 131
        FFS ! says:

        This clown is promising Jam for Portsmouth by 2032 . FFS !


        • 163
          Former Colleague says:

          Jam for Portsmouth by 2032 – but jam for Handycock long before that. How do you all suppose he got his villa in Spain, as well as his two new cars, living it up with Katya for four years at public expense – and also being the third-largest donor to the Lib Dem party? With a little help from his ‘business’ friends in Portsmouth – that’s how.


        • 164
          Handycock No1 Trougher in Parliament says:

          Look I am desperately trying to rehabilitate myself so that I don’t lose my seat at the next election, which may be nearer than you all think. if I lost my seat it would be disastrous, no more trips to Eastern Europe, no more young girls out there paid for by the taxpayer and no more taxpayer funded accommodation in London for my Mistresses to stay in. God forbid this ever happens. Jahbulon.


  5. 5
    nemo says:

    Mrs Cook: Oh look! they are all marching out of step bar my little Chris, such a good boy


  6. 7
    Jumbo says:

    It’s incredible when I encounter the FT’s hacks these days – they are so up their own arse and raking in money on the side perpetuating this myth that they’re any good at their job. It was a good paper 20-plus years ago. The Guardian was good as a radical paper in the 1970s. Some warmists’ theories were vaguely credible for five minutes a decade ago. Basically they can all now be classified in one group: lazy.


  7. 8
    Willett's Right Hand says:

    The big problem is postgraduate education. I was part of a university teaching committee due to meet the Minister of Universities and Science, David Willetts, at the Houses of Parliament on the future role of social sciences, such as anthropology and politics. An aide and a lord sat each side of an empty chair, and we waited and waited, being told he’s often late but he’ll be here soon. Only he didn’t turn up.

    Over the next hour or so I looked at Willett’s empty chair and began formulating the questions I would have asked had he deigned turn up. They mostly centred around the lack of any co-ordinated or thought through policy in terms of the future of postgraduate education, in that although the impact of the rise in undergraduate fees to £9000 has been widely reported, there has been relatively little about the impact at Masters and PhD level. These too will rise to £9000 (or more) but unlike undergrad fees, there is no loan system in place. Postgraduate education will remain open to the wealthy, inlcuding wealthy overseas students who will be bale to come to the UK to study at some of the world’s finest universities, but increasingly UK students will be priced out of eduction by their own government.

    I wanted to ask Willetts, what provision was being made and many other questions, but instead had to be content with the sight of his empty chair. A telling absence and sign of government confusion? or a recognition of the impossibility of being able to sit there and justify the destruction being done to the university system?


    • 22
      The Paragnostic says:

      So what you are saying is that if the state doesn’t pony up for the costs, only rich people will benefit from postgraduate Marxism / Structuralism / whatever?

      I feel for you, I really do. Just thinking about the prospect has made my Levi-Strausses all wrinkly.


      • 160
        Ex Student says:

        the state (contributions from you an me) ponied up when only five pct of the population went to uni.

        now bliar has made it law that fifty pct will get degrees, that is no longer viable.
        just another devaluation

        stop press: seaton tech will be upgraded to university status next year.
        why should they miss out on the gravy train?


    • 31
      Anonymous says:

      Trust the university sector to be utterly ignorant of the main event.

      The heart of the game plan is to privatise the school system. Hence the vilification in the Murdoch press; the academies given far more resources than community schools while (a) pretending they get the same (b) keeping quiet about their greatly increased financial responsibilities and (c) waiting for them to go bankrupt when their excessive and unsustainable funding is inevitably cut thereby forcing them into the clutches of the likes of Murdoch. Not to mention the use of dodgy statistics to pretend the system is failing while keeping quiet about attending international meetings of countries with good systems (i.e including the UK but not the USA).

      Once everything is pushed into the private sector with sink schools for the vast majority and lavishly resourced schools for fee-payers the university sector can expect the same treatment. You will get students to the extent that is to the profit of private providers to supply them.

      Quite why you tell your tale of woe to Greedo and his vermin I’m not sure. I only come here to laugh at them – are you new here?


      • 125
        Engineer says:

        Are you of the opinion that the education system has been performing superbly for the past couple of decades? Not in need of improvement at all? No need to live within a budget?

        Perhaps if you remove your blinkers, things might look a little clearer.


        • 167
          Anonymous says:

          No, but functioned to the demands of you liblabcon scum. No, but Micheala’s agenda is to make it far worse by copying the nightmare of what Murdoch and his mates have done to education in the US. No, but it does.

          Perhaps if you were not a self-opinionated cυnt and found time to take your head out of your arse you might understand a little more about reality rather than just making up random accusations for the applause of your fellow vermin.


    • 35
      nemo says:

      Well why didn’t you find 2 models of brains put them side by side on the empty chair and place a pair of specs in front of them, you could then pretend he was with you and discuss the topics that you wanted to, you would probably get the same reaction


    • 50
      nellnewman says:

      So are you saying that you and your committee and 2 members of his staff sat around staring at one another for over an hour without having an even informal discussion of what you went there for?

      And then I bet you all went home and made monstrous claims on the taxpayer for travel expenses and time etc!!


    • 61
      Ex-Tory says:

      One of the funniest posts for ages. An academic moaning the State is cuttign subsidy for PHDs in social sciences! How will the Nation survive such bad news? I’m sure China will fill the void and start churning out millions of experts in Anthropology!


      • 77
        Fish says:

        We’ve got enough PPE ‘masters’ who can’t master PPE. That’s probably the reason the country is in the tutty.

        Sounds like Willetts had better things to do.


    • 100
      Engineer says:

      How many more Social Sciences PhDs does the country really need? How many can the country afford, given the size of public deficit?

      The rest of the country has run out of money and has to live on a budget. That now applies to education too. Just live with it.


  8. 9
    Gareth says:

    Those rags are pushing the fees=evil line with dubious stats since we are not at the deadline, and 2010 had a surge so the yoy comparison is less significant than the trend. Shrug.

    The Graun makes it nicely obvious how partisan they are with the link to the previous ‘applications down 12%’ piece at an earlier point in the year. 12%? 8%? Final answer?


    • 38
      This time is different says:

      Its true! 2010 saw a big surge in applications to beat the fees introduction. It is no surprise that applications are down on this highwater mark this year. On the point of “not letting facts get in the way of a good story” I think Guido’s at fault here, not the FT.


      • 80
        Sandalista says:

        My son’s Uni increased its intake in Sept11 in an attempt to pre-empt the fees hike – they may even have been fined as a result. The extra student numbers were such that they’ve had to use part of a holiday camp for accommodation. It will be interesting to see if they will need to do so this coming September.


  9. 10
    bad witbooi says:

    fucken students, should be kept working in the mines instead. Or labour camps. Let them eat cake


  10. 12
    A Passing Cynic says:

    The figures should be measured not againt the last year before fees were increased, but with the years before that. There was a surge last year that will skew the results.

    Anyway, too many people were encouraged to do too many micky mouse courses under Labour so it’s not a bad thing.


  11. 15
    Anonymous says:

    I’ll bet Cook knows more about data analysis than any of the other hacks (or GF). He also knows that Willetts spells his name with two t’s


  12. 16

    Brain decline starts in 40s DT

    Most of you reading this are fucked. Only the trolls, still mostly in their teens, are OK.

    *Do you really believe this stuff? I don’t*


    • 19
      Broadsword calling Danny Boy says:

      I am over forty and I can’t remember whether or not I believe this stuff.


      • 25
        Fuck the cancer says:

        I’m 57, terminally ill, and yet my brain has never been in better fetter


        • 52
          Fuck the amyloid says:

          I’m 58 and about to start my third round of chemotherapy. I wish I didn’t remember the previous ones so clearly.


          • Fuck the cancer says:

            I only went through one course, which was tough enough, so not having to worry about another is probably better for me in the long, or short, run, but i wish you everything you wish for yourself.


        • 136

          I cannot possibly know what it is like to suffer from your condition but I was inspired by Christopher Hitchens’ approach to his illness and imagine that your best defence is your active brain. My very best wishes to both you and your first respondent.


          • Sylvio says:

            Phase 111 trials for second generation jallop to sort out the neurofibrillary tangles now nearing completion and very encouraging. Next step is marketing the stuff.

            Aprox 9 other drugs in phase 2 or 3 for Alzheimer’s( amylod and NFT’s) also in progress.

            Stem cells also far more advanced than generally apprehended( needed for replacing the lost brain cells ) circa 2-3 years away.

            None of this of any use for advanced pickled state ie not for journalists


      • 30
        Mad, Bad & Dangerous Gordon McRuin ( Member in absentia ) says:

        I remember clearly how I saved the World.


    • 27
      The Paragnostic says:

      I reckon it’s true, but then again even if I go totally senile I’ll still be smarter than a socialist, so perhaps it doesn’t matter.

      Seems to me that the whole world is suffering from dementia anyway – all I’ll be doing is catching up!


      • 36
        Anonymous says:

        After regime change you will not be given the time to catch up.


        • 49
          The Paragnostic says:

          After reading a little more about the study, it turns out that the 10 year period covered by the research was 1997 – 2007, aka the Blair years.

          My alternative hypothesis to explain the results is that civil servants under Blair became between 3 and 8% more stupid as a direct result of exposure to socialism, and the real cause was an outbreak of BSE (Bureaucratic Spineless EdBallsness) at the Treasury.


          • HS2 Stinks says:

            Would suggest that was 3-8% per year cumulative as a result of direct exposure to pure lies, deceit and ‘caring spending’ of other peoples’ money.

            The proof of their new lows of stupidity is the massive waste project called High Speed Rail 2.

            An absolute sink hole for Taxpayers Cash and another great contribution toward Italian levels of DEBT of £1600 BILLION which Camoron will achieve by the end of this Parliament, up from the Gordoom’s leaving debt of £900 Billion


          • The UK is becoming East Germany circa 1976 says:

            Add in the imbecilic political attitude towards utterly useless wankfests such as ‘wind power’.
            Or the mind bogglingly expensive war against perfectly harmless CO2 and you have the recipe for the perfect storm of economic and social collapse.

            All of course, entirely avoidable, save our juvenile, idiotic and corrupt political class.


          • Whilst agreeing with you, Paragnostic, there is another modern factor which may be prevalent within a certain type of occupation (including this type) where the first, and only, thing that someone does when they get home from work is open a tin of lager and sit down in front of the TV for the rest of the night.

            I cannot think of anything more calculated to deaden the brain than not to use it.


    • 45
      WVM says:

      It’s bollocks we’re all individuals. The only thing that I’ve found in my 40’s is too much alcohol on a regular basis diminishes ones memory and smoking helped me concentrate better.


    • 67
      a non says:

      Looks nice out today eh.


  13. 23
    Arthur Daly (Grateful Conservative) MP says:

    Ho hum! Another day, and yet another opportunity for labour to administer a self inflicting wound.


  14. 24
    Raving Loon says:

    The FT ceased to be a reputable paper a long time ago. It’s full of pinkos and Keynesianists now.


    • 51
      The Party's Over says:



    • 117
      The UK is becoming East Germany circa 1976 says:

      The FT has been so wrong on every major issue for so long, it has become irrelevant to any sensible discussion. Still, it is wonderfully PC these days.


  15. 26
    Fuck the cancer says:

    Don’t get a worthless degree, get a trade instead.
    You don’t see many unemployed plumbers down the job centre.


    • 65
      JH says:

      You don’t see many plumbers reading the Guardian either darling.

      Manual work is far below the next-elite-in-waiting. It’s so horribly… practical. A comfortable little sinecure in the Public Sector for them, if you please.

      Not to mention the fact that plumbers tend to be horrendously white. Ugh.


  16. 29
    • 37
      Mrs. Ball-Scooper ( triple flipper ) says:

      ‘As for her comment, if you want an example of divide and rule go no further than Diane Abbot’s monthly ethnic minority and black only constituency meetings. Which MP would dare to do this and get away with it but her?’

      WTF ?!


      • 64
        No Need For Surprise. Some Part of the UK are rotten with it says:

        Harriet Harman and Stella Creasy were holding women only election meetings on council property at the time of the last general election in Walthamstow. That too was a breech of electoral law but nothing was done. In no doubt unconnected developments the returning officer (and council chief exec) did get a £375000 payout shortly thereafter, despite one ward having a slightly suspcious 105% turnout declared in the simultaneous council elections. That was overturned in the High Court.


    • 149
      All hail the Ants says:

      Unusually good article by the Daily Kardashian. However have you read the feature about those monster Ants, yikes !


  17. 33
    cynic2 says:

    Last year there as a huge rush to avoid Labours higher fees so of course this year we are back to normal entry numbers and there isnt a real fall


  18. 34
    Diane Abbott says:

    Anyone seen my family bucket?


  19. 40
  20. 41
    Anonymous says:

    Is the filename of the picture of coCk a deliberate typ-o?


  21. 42
    Anonymous says:

    cook the books

    rewrite history books

    must be politicians there somewhere


  22. 44
    The Party's Over says:

    Applications for Creative, Politics and Pornography up again !

    Now to catch up on those boring Chinese and Germans.

    Education, educashun, edicajun, that’s the way to do it A.B.


  23. 46
    Lomax says:

    This is bad news for the recovery. In a few short years we will be short of graduates in meeja studies, fence post erecting, llama sexing, mechanical cleaning of paved public areas, gold fish wrestling, hairgel archtecture, etc etc.


    • 69
      University of East London says:

      Steeeeeeet Daaaance, Streeeeeeeeet Daaaaance. Come and get your degee in Street Dance here. Bring your own nikes.


  24. 48
    Sarah AB says:

    I completely agree – and please note I’m a lecturer and member of the LP – that it’s important to note that applications were up last year because it was the last year before fees – there is thus bound to be a dip this year. This has to be taken into account.


  25. 54
    nellnewman says:

    It would be interesting to see , if applications are down, in which subjects the applications have fallen most.

    I suspect it might be in all those bliar/bullyballs non subjects like photography and stuff, where people had no hopes of getting a decent job afterwards anyway.

    You’re not exactly going to pay out £9000 pa for a degree in a subject that has no workplace value are you? But they were all happy to go and waste their time at it whilst we the taxpayers were paying most of their fees.

    Perhaps now universities will concentrate on offering good quality degrees in worthwhile academic and professional subjects only.


    • 62
      The Paragnostic says:

      Would that that were true, nell!

      Unfortunately, so many former polytechnics and FE colleges now rejoice in the possession of university status that I fear only a few will offer worthwhile courses. Maybe if we had a reclassification of university status, and stopped calling degrees in non-subjects degrees (there used to be a very good system called HNC/HND for technical education), we could afford to educate those who would benefit from a proper academic course of study for free, and let those who want to offer courses not in useful subjects follow the m*rket.


      • 68
        nellnewman says:

        I haven’t been involved in education for a while but I remember HND’s and HNC’s and how valued they were in the workplace.

        They seem to have replaced them with tickbox exams for NVQ’s and BTEC’s now that nobody values not even the student.


  26. 59
    Jasmin Alibi Cunt says:

    Good I hope the numbers of barely literate cu’nts wanting to go to UNI is falling

    Why should the self employed, or the minimum wage earner fund these thick as pigshit cu’nts to study art and fucking mejah?


  27. 70
    Big C says:

    the true cost for three years is about £70-75K

    £27,000 tuition fees
    £30,000 lost earnings
    £15,000 living expenses


  28. 71
    Tube_Thumper says:

    The fall in applications is I would think mainly down to young people not wanting to pay 9k a year for non degrees like media studies, ski instructor, racial awareness, cat stroking etc.

    This can only be a good thing and means that value will become re-attached to degrees that people have paid to learn and worked hard to achieve


  29. 84
    junkit says:

    i went to Wolverhampton Polytechnic to do a Law Degree in the late 1980’s – it was shit


  30. 85

    Basically, education is like a fundamental human right, yah? Sorted.


  31. 88
    sista says:

    Isnt there a race relations class that Miss Abbott could attend to pay her debt to society?


  32. 102
    RED ED - SON OF BROWN says:

    Another day, another epic increase in my popularity ratings !


    • 108
      Ed Balls, Shallow Chancer says:

      It’s rising too far, too fast. You need a five point plan to reduce the velocity and volatility.

      A five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan
      A five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan
      A five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan
      A five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan
      A five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan, a five point plan




  33. 104
    I don't need no doctor says:

    Thinking about the Diane Abbott issue made me realise she made the comment to satisfy her own ego, and because she knows full well that she can get away with it.
    As a constituency MP and a shadow minister she has no need whatsoever to make comments about White, Black, etc.. Her duty is to her constituents whatever colour or ethnic background. That is her duty as an MP.
    I am afraid Abbott is not true to her responsibilities or her position in society.
    She certainly has personal issues that need to be sorted. The trouble is Ed Miliband is weak, while Abbott’s thinks she is above and beyond questioning.
    She really ought to consider her position and realise that she is doing Black people no favours at all. She should also look to Mrs. Lawrence, a Black person with bags of dignity and control.
    Mrs. Lawrence is a superb role model for us all. I am afraid Diane Abbott is not.


    • 118
      Sandalista says:

      Abbott’s main concern is that she is seen as the Black Community’s voice. Any attempt to “dilute” the Black Community is a threat to her position.

      Diane Abbott the Shallow Heath Minister.


    • 128
      The UK is becoming East Germany circa 1976 says:

      Diane Racist has plenty of previous form on race baiting and casual racism. However, the police don’t seem interested in upholding the law in her case. I wonder why?


  34. 105
    General Ripper says:

    Listen up maggots!

    The US of A is quitting the Euroland and going to Asia to defend our sovereignty.
    From now on you lazy, shirking, beatniks can defend your own goddam countries.
    Uncle Sam has paying for your protection for 70 years.

    Against the commie hordes and the A-rabs and keeping an eye on the krauts too.

    But now your own no good, lazy, liberal, pinko, wet , hippy kids can get conscripted into your own armies.

    And pick up your own costs too! Germany 1% GDP on defence. No wonder they tower over the rest of you Europe guys. Getting rich while everyone else defends them. The moochers!

    Now..Stand To Attention!
    You goddam, lousy, queer, broke, long haired, workshy, chicken, commie, red bastards!


  35. 107
    Not a hatchet job says:

    I’ll be seeing The Iron Lady today. One review says it’s dangerously uncritical of Thatcher and even presents her as Churchillian during the Falklands sequences.


    • 120
      jack regan says:

      The Lady was (crosses self) “Churchillian
      You think a Hestletine would have sent in troops?
      You think Cameron would have sent the SAS to deall with the Iranian embassy siege or quell a prison riot?
      A marvelous and noble Lady and if only we had more like her we wouldnt be in the sh1t that we are in
      Lady T didnt fiddle her expenses nor take expensive holidays and Dennis would have never even considered twitering
      I will shed a tear when she passes


  36. 110
    Non-Graduate says:

    When I did my ‘A’ levels in the late 1970s it was still “acceptable” not to go on to University. The ‘A’ level was still a respected qualification and degrees were generally still in “proper” subjects. Whilst it might be more difficult to rehabilitate the modern ‘A’ level, it should be easier to get the degree courses back to something that is beneficial for students and the UK.

    In my family only two of us did not go to university over the past 300 years. My ggg-grandfather and I went into the Armed Forces. I do wonder if I should have gone to Uni first.


  37. 111
  38. 112
    Spank Sinatra says:

    For those who can remember the seventies, university undergraduates accounted for approx 6 percent of those of school leaving age. It was not elitist. Those from families on low incomes received a full grant and were broadly speaking much better off than those with middle-income parents who were obliged to cough up for their kids living costs. The essential difference was the exam system where entry standards were high ensuring that only ‘brighter than average’ kids were accepted. The drop-out rate due to academic non-achievement was also extremely low. In my entire year intake across all subjects, I believe just two quit before completing their degrees. The real issue is the pathetic quality of teaching in schools nowadays combined with exam systems and assessment boards who collectively conspire to ensure that ‘everyone is a winner’ resulting in a rush to lower the bar. It should therefore come as no surprise that the quality of those now graduating, in academic terms, is woefully low and of little value to society/business in real terms. ‘Crap in’ = ‘crap out’.


  39. 113
    Engineer says:

    I wonder how many of the 43% of school-leavers who subsequently went to university will not obtain employment that uses their degree qualifications?

    You don’t need a degree to be a decent person, and there are many worthwhile, honourable trades, skills and jobs out there that need to be done and offer a decent living.

    If university places were only available to 2% of the population, and applications fell, that would be a problem. However, something like 40% of the population are pushed that way with the (probably unfulfillable) promise of great riches ahead. Some of them are going to end up disappointed and in debt.

    This current drop is not a problem, it’s a start of the solution.


    • 132
      Anon says:

      I agree. There also needs ot be a serious look at the inflation in qualifications for MAs, many of which are also quite mediocre.

      I once gave an internship to a guy with a Masters in Human Rights Law who could barely write. He was a very nice guy but it was painful sending his stuff back to him. If he’d been on the payroll he’d have been sacked.


      • 151

        “These people with their mickey mouse qualifications are ruining it for those of us who studied hard.”

        Derek Draper – MA. MD.Pd.PHD. RHSA
        University of quite near to Berkeley
        Psychic Institute of paranormal studdies and alternative healing


  40. 114
    junkit says:

    Lee Japser is a comic genius


  41. 119
    She has previous says:

    The problem is that she has previous for this kind of comment. She made a derogatory comment about Finnish nurses coming to work here, and of course the infamous “West Indian mums will go to the wall for their kids” remark. This is at least her third overtly racist comment. Any other MP or person in public life would have lost their job after just one such comment.

    The producer of Midsomer Murders was sacked because he said the kind of village presented in the show is mostly white. That wasn’t a racist comment, it was just describing the make-up of a type of place in England. And yet he was fired. Abbott’s made at least three if not more clearly racist comments and she’s still an MP and shadow minister. It’s a joke.


    • 122
      jack regan says:

      Let us hope that she is Finnished


    • 124
      P.Mandevison, the Eminence Greasy says:

      We don’t ‘do’ sackings or honourable resignations in the Liebour party. If we’re forced out, we always come back. Just like a bad smell.


    • 138
      The UK is becoming East Germany circa 1976 says:

      Let’s not forget her “white employees should be made redundant, before any black employees” racist jibe either.


  42. 121
    The Liebour Party says:

    Ed was always the funnier of the Marx Brothers. Perhaps David could have a turn on stage now ?


    • 126
      jack regan says:


      would anybody want to be a member of any party that would have ed and dave marx as members?


  43. 139

    Nigel Molesworth
    St Custards university

    nu labors edukashion educkasion edukeasion polycees really helped prepair me for life.
    I know tons and tons about slavery and Britains gilt on it.
    I also no about climate change and wot a bad fing it is.

    And i no if i can get a counsel house in islington its worf more than working. I can rent it out to some of Polly’s mates amd make a furtune.


  44. 159
    gildedtumbril says:

    Please, please, do not speak of david witless. I detest the creep most heartily, ‘cos I believe he is a nonce.


  45. 162
    Dougie says:

    8% is a remarkably small drop, especially considering last year applications were up 2.5% and up 16.5% the year before. The year before that “The final figures for applications in 2009 showed almost 640,000 total applicants – with 482,000 eventually accepted on to courses.” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8619922.stm

    So we still have more applications than in 2010 and far fewer places than applicants. The prophets of doom, as so often, shown to be totally wrong.


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