Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400 - 404)



  400. Would you be amenable to more questions from our staff and the Committee while we are writing up this report?
  (Professor Callender) I would be absolutely delighted. The other point I would like to make is that I am slightly disappointed I was not asked about the London study on students in London.

  401. Where is London!
  (Professor Callender) I was hoping you were going to ask me about that.

  402. A one-minute answer.
  (Professor Callender) There is a direct correlation between the distance a student travels to university and their social class. That is to say, the likelihood of a middle-class person in your constituency going to Brighton University is incredibly much higher than the likelihood of a working-class student in your constituency going to Brighton. When we look at London, that tendency is increasing. Increasing proportions of lower-income students are going to their local university in order to save money and, therefore, by definition, their choices are restricted. When we move those arguments to London, something rather special is happening because of the composition of London and that is that a third of students at least in London come from ethnic minorities, that more students attending universities in London than outside London might live at home with mum and dad. So if we want to understand what is happening in London, we have to look at their housing arrangements, their ethnicity and what type of university they go to, and it is the interface of those three factors that then leads to a situation whereby in London in particular we are in danger of having a system whereby, on the one hand, we have LSE which is populated by white middle-class students drawn from throughout the country and, on the other hand, we have a university on the South Bank, with a black ethnic minority student population drawn from the locality and other low-income students and, thus, there is a danger that what is happening is that the institutions are becoming increasingly segregated on the basis of gender, ethnicity and income.

  403. That is very interesting and thank you for that, although we would like to see the specifics on that because certainly there will be deep cultural roots in terms of certainly many of my ethnic minority communities who prefer their children not to go too far from home and that is part of the culture.
  (Professor Callender) Absolutely right.

  404. I have to tell you that at the London School of Economics, of which I am a Governor, we do have many ethnic minority students, but they happen to be quite wealthy.
  (Professor Callender) Or coming from overseas.

  Chairman: Thank you very much.

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