Pupils mis-sold soft A-levels: MP
Comprehensive school pupils are being denied places at leading universities after being "mis-sold" soft A-levels in subjects like media studies, it has been claimed.
A-levels in traditional subjects like maths, science and foreign languages are becoming the preserve of private and grammar schools, according to Tory MP Elizabeth Truss.
An analysis of official data, conducted by Ms Truss, suggests that half as many students educated at comprehensive schools study three "rigorous" A-levels as those who attend fee-paying schools.
Ms Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, said the figures show that comprehensive school pupils are seeing their chances of attending elite universities "cut off before they have even filled in their application forms".
The analysis looked at the proportion of pupils in comprehensive, grammar and private schools taking subjects that appear on the Russell Group's list of "facilitating" A-levels.
The Russell Group represents the UK's most prestigious universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, and the list is designed to give would-be students advice on the best subjects to take for a wide range of degree courses at the institutions.
The findings show that 15% of comprehensive school pupils entered for at least three "facilitating" A-levels, compared with 32% at grammar schools and 31% at private schools.
The analysis also looked at the proportions of students taking subjects on the London School of Economics' list of "non-preferred" subjects. Students applying to LSE, a Russell Group university, are usually asked to have no more than one A-level that is on the "non-preferred" list.
The findings show that 9.9% of comprehensive school pupils were entered for media studies A-level, one of the subjects on the list, compared with 4% in grammar schools and 1.5% in fee-paying schools.
Ms Truss said: "Students are being mis-sold low quality subjects that are not accepted at top universities to boost school and local authorities' results. It is time Ofqual put an end to the myth that mathematics and media studies are 'equivalent'."