The New College of the Humanities, which will be taking its first cohort of pupils this September, is so far maintaining its elitist label, with only 1 in 5 places being offered to state school pupils.
The new college will be charging fees of £18,000 a year, not including accommodation costs, and has been warmly dubbed by Boris Johnson as ‘Reject College, Oxbridge’ due to its advertising stance towards unsuccessful Oxbridge candidates and the similarities in the teaching systems.
The school, situated in Bloomsbury, will offer degrees from the University of London in the five subjects of Economics, English, History, Law and Philosophy, with one to one tutorials and 12 hours of contact time a week. Set up by philosophy don AC Grayling, academics of the likes of Richard Dawkins and Niall Fergusson, among others, will teach at the college.
Of the 355 applications made for entry in September 2012, 66% were by students from independent schools, and only 22% from state schools. This is in part a reflection of the target market the school is trying to attract; of the 130 outreach and higher education events attended by the college since last September, only 27 of these were state schools.
This compares to the nearly 50% that Cambridge and Oxford admit from state schools, based on 2010 entry statistics.
Founder AC Grayling is not adverse to the elitist label been given to the college, and told the Guardian “Anything very high quality, very demanding, can be described as elite. I don’t personally have any difficulty with that word.” Accusations are more in the trend of exclusivity rather than elitism, however; of the 91 offers made so far, only 7 have been offered full scholarships, for which the recipient is not required to pay the fees. These are means rather than merit tested, providing an indication, perhaps, of the wealth of the average applicant; not surprising considering the eye-watering £18,000 a year that the education will cost. Despite this, however, the fees page of the website declares “We are committed to making full- time study at NCH both accessible and affordable for all. We are determined not to be exclusive.”
Emily Wymer – News Reporter