chapter  7
Links with higher education
ByNicholas Foskett
Pages 14

Higher education and schools have traditionally been viewed as the opposite ends of a broad spectrum of provision within the UK education system. At one pole, the schools have provided basic education for all up to the minimum school-leaving age, at which point the majority leave the system with a feeling of release and relief. At the other pole, higher education has provided a narrow, usually academic or professionally vocational, education to small numbers of students selected through a discriminatory system designed to facilitate exclusion. The traditional control of public examinations by boards under the auspices of the universities with university teachers playing a dominant role in establishing content and style, meant that the curriculum throughout secondary education was much influenced by the universities’ entrance requirements. Yet the relationship between schools and higher education has always been a distant one. Control and influence were exerted largely in one direction, with schools submitting passively to the needs of higher education and gratuitously seeking patronage, and hence community credibility, in providing small numbers of selected students to the system, gaining good examination results for a wider group and recruiting graduates from prestigious institutions to the teaching staff.