Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair Clashes with Son's University in 'Bias' Row

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair Clashes with Son's University in 'Bias' Row

Article excerpt

TONY BLAIR today clashed with his son's university by slapping down institutions which reject highflying applicants from private schools in a row over discrimination.

The Prime Minister's unexpected intervention in the controversy came after Bristol University, attended by his oldest son Euan, was identified as the worst offender.

One student rejected by Bristol was Mark Smith, 17, from Wollaston, Northants, who is on a music scholarship to fee-paying Bedford School, and whose case was highlighted in the Evening Standard yesterday. He has since been accepted by Cambridge.

Headteachers of independent schools accused Bristol of operating a "social engineering" policy by denying places to privately-educated pupils.

But Mr Blair hit out at the practice when put on the spot by Tory MP Chris Grayling at Commons Question Time. Mr Grayling said: "There are increasing reports of pupils of high ability and achievement being turned down by universities because of their social background-By Patrick Hennessy Deputy Political Editor How would you justify that to the pupils who are missing out? …

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