Many people will state that Russell group universities shunning pupils who choose "lesser" A-levels is not news; indeed it is common knowledge to the majority. I believe emphasis must be placed on understanding why these supposed lesser A-levels are chosen. I went to a non-selective state school and thoroughly enjoyed lower school. Sixth form was a different experience. It became very obvious that the school seemed pre-occupied with the securing of grades, irrespective of the subject. There was little emphasis on pushing the students for the challenge and priority was getting the grades. Furthermore the way in which people are forced to take General Studies is appalling. I know people who draw pictures on the exam papers as well as playing the game of getting as many irrelevant phrases in answers as possible, some of these people got full marks, I was one of them. Towards the end of year 11 students would go and see the careers advisor who would type various job titles into Google. I do not believe many people ever know what they really "want to do" in life let alone at the tender age of 16. This was about the extent of advice that one received and there was little evidence of teachers pushing pupils to take a subject where they may risk getting a lower grade. Surely advice should constitute more of a "keep options open" and "push yourself outside your comfort zone" mentality. Children from a non-university background need this vital advice to tackle unchartered territory.
I chose a narrower choice of subjects than I should have done and I was very naive at 16. I saw a lot people who became very de-motivated in sixth form, even more so when they realised they lacked the subjects needed to get to the university they wanted. I felt it was the lack of a challenge to students that caused problems and I started to loathe the system but was encouraged to apply to university regardless. I got offers from good universities, cancelled them and promptly bought a visa for Australia after a particularly dull, un-challenging day at school. After travelling I re-applied, went to a Russell group university and now I am on a good graduate scheme at a Big 4 firm. Each individual should fully accept responsibility for the choices they make and the very idea of being able to sue a school for bad advice is frankly a sad indictment of our society and far from a constructive solution to a problem being overlooked. This is difficult to measure let alone to create some meaningless statistics for. It seems today that every school believes their students should be getting three "A" grades and a top university place. This just isn't the case, it is not for everyone and never will be. Schools should be careful with advice; however their hands are bound tightly by competitive league tables creating a "hunt" for grades and unachievable government higher education targets.