Private schools ‘cannot be sniffy about apprenticeships’

The president of the Girls’ Schools Association says fewer 18-year-olds should push for places at Oxford and Cambridge and consider alternatives such as on-the-job training

Hilary French, president of the Girls’ Schools Association (GSA), said more private school pupils should consider alternatives to university and stop being “sniffy” about getting a job at the age of 18.

Children from middle-class backgrounds need to be more “open minded” about routes into the workplace because a degree is not right for all pupils, it was claimed. Hilary French called on parents and teachers to embrace “alternative avenues” such as an apprenticeship instead of aiming for Oxbridge and other top Russell Group universities.

Addressing the association’s annual conference in Newcastle, she also suggested that schools no longer needed to teach about “knowledge and facts” because information is available on the internet.

In the future, schools should be more focused on promoting skills such as confidence, leadership and independent thinking through outdoor activities, volunteering and the Duke of Edinburgh Award, she said.