Higher Education Bill

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Mr. Rendel: The hon. Gentleman may have slightly misunderstood what I was saying. I was not saying that all independent schools support the idea that A-levels should be maintained, but that as I understand it they all support the idea that A-levels should be the criterion on which access to universities is decided. That is a slightly different point.

Chris Grayling: I am a little puzzled by the hon. Gentleman's comments. I said clearly that I thought

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that it was important to leave universities to decide what happens to the admissions process and that it is not for politicians to interfere with that. Politicians may voice their views, but they certainly should not interfere. However, I do not recall suggesting that A-levels should not be part of the process. Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that the worst possible development would be the regulation of universities so that students who did not have A-levels and had not made the grade were admitted?

Mr. Rendel: I shall say two things about that. First, I apologise if the hon. Gentleman thought that I was accusing him of saying that A-levels had no part to play. I was not; I said that he had talked about a friend of his who in spite of getting comparatively bad A-levels—grades that might normally not have resulted in a place at Cambridge—nevertheless showed potential and was able to go with those lower grades. I accept entirely that university success, qualifications and proof that one has reached a certain standard can play a part in university applications and in being granted a university place.

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Gale, Mr. Roger (Chairman)
Allen, Mr.
Boswell, Mr.
Campbell, Mrs.
Chaytor, Mr.
Clappison, Mr.
Collins, Mr.
Foster, Mr.
Francis, Dr.
Francois, Mr.
Grayling, Chris
Hall, Mr.
Johnson, Alan
Laxton, Mr.
Lewis, Mr.
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr.
Plaskitt, Mr.
Purnell, James
Rendel, Mr.
Shaw, Jonathan
Twigg, Derek

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