A new report has been released stating that universities such as Nottingham will cherry-pick the brightest students from the age of 11.

The scheme has been called a new way of opening up university admissions procedures without the lowering of standards that has taken place in recent years. However, critics such as those from the Welsh Assembly say that many children develop later in life, and thus the scheme will miss out on these students.

Nottingham University itself says the university is not planning on becoming involved with this. When questioned further, the Registrar’s department noted: “It would be inappropriate [for us] to comment about it at this stage.”

The scheme, run by the Specialist Schools and Acadamies Trust, entails universities establishing links with pupils from the end of primary school, and has greatly fueled fears that immense pressure will be put on pupils to perform. Once they have been ‘identified’, the Trust intends to register them with the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) who will continue to monitor their process through school.

In an extract from a letter sent to headteachers, Trust chairman Sir Cyril Taylor explained: “We’re going to track these children independently at KS3, GCSE and A levels. And if these children don’t get 3 As at A level we want to know the reason why. Because they should but the facts are that only about a third of them are.”

An Oxford University spokesperson said the letter had been misinterpreted, and was only meant as a “reminder letter” to schools. “[Although the register] is a potential source of good applicants…the effects of this have been overstated,” the unnamed spokesperson added.

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