All major northern cities combined secured fewer places at Oxford and Cambridge than twelve southern private schools, new data has revealed.483 places were offered to pupils from twelve southern schools, compared to 398 for all northern cities. Of the top six southern schools, which received 344 offers between them, five are based in London.The twelve schools collectively received roughly one in 14 of all offers made to both universities.In total, the two universities offer nearly 7000 undergraduate places each year.The cities included in the regional data, gathered from an FOI request made by David Lammy MP, were Middlesbrough, Bradford, Liverpool, Bolton, Sheffield, York, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester, Hull, and Birmingham.Westminster School alone received 88 offers, equivalent to nearly a quarter of the offers made to all major northern cities. The other schools with the most offers were Eton College, with 68 offers, and St Paul’s School, with 53 offers.Other schools named on the list include City of London Boys, Magdalen College School, Wycombe Abbey, and Charterhouse.The most recent figures available were used for the twelve schools, though some of the latest data is from previous years.In response to these findings, Lammy claimed the data provided “yet more evidence” that change was needed at Oxford. Lammy said: “It is simply not acceptable for these institutions to take £800 million in taxpayers’ money from people in every city, town, and village when they are not reflective of our nation outside the wealthiest areas of the southeast of England.”Catherine Canning, Oxford SU VP for Access and Academic Affairs, told Cherwell: “We believe that the University should set and strive to meet stretching targets for widening access to Oxford.“We believe access stems from long before application and does not stop at an offer letter. The University has an obligation to support students throughout this process.”This comes after statistics earlier obtained by Lammy showed that four out of five students at Oxford and Cambridge are from the top two most privileged economic groups.Speaking to Cherwell, Pembroke JCR Access rep, Graham Mogridge, said: “This statistic is frankly appalling. It illustrates that the need for access work, and government action, is as relevant as ever. “Work is needed at all levels, from University to student, in defeating Oxford stereotypes, and providing those that have the potential with support before, during, and after the applications process.”A spokesman for the University said: “When students from the north of England apply to Oxford, they tend to be very successful. What we need are more applications.”The data also revealed that Oxford made only 193 more offers to applicants from the whole of northern England than it did to applicants from the five home counties.The University told Cherwell: “One of the most important things to look at in admissions is the fairness of success rates, not just the raw numbers.”“In our case, figures for the latest admissions round show that students whom we flag in the admissions process as being particularly disadvantaged (because they attended an underperforming school or live in an area of high social deprivation) actually have better success rates when they apply than their more advantaged peer applicants.”
Russell Alexie and 45 other residents of Karluk Manor took shelter at St. John United Methodist Church after the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Hillman/Alaska Public Media)All 46 residents of Karluk Manor, an apartment building in Anchorage for people with disabilities, were evacuated after the earthquake. They won’t be able to return home until Wednesday at the earliest because of a broken water main and damages to the building. But the community pulled together to make sure they were safe.When the earthquake started on Friday morning, Russell Alexie was sitting in his room at Karluk Manor in Fairview.“It was scary. I got to watch my TV fall, my dishes fall,” he recalled. “All the shaking and rattling. It was scary.”When it ended, he joined the rest of the residents in the building’s cafeteria. He left his room with just his jacket, shoes, and most of his medications. He normally uses a walker, but he couldn’t get it down the stairs and the elevators weren’t working.“Then the cafeteria, the dining area, (the ceiling) started leaking really crazy,” he said. “Then everyone was trying to get back in their rooms and get their clothes.”The power, heat, and water were out, and it was unclear when it would all be restored. Some staff made sandwiches while others made plans.Corrine O’Neill is the supportive housing division director for RurAL CAP, which runs Karluk Manor. She said that by late afternoon it was clear residents needed a new place to live, but the logistics were difficult.“All of our people are disabled and a majority of them are seniors with mobility challenges,” she explained.When other housing options for the large group fell through, they got in touch with St. John United Methodist Church on O’Malley, where Andy Bartel is a pastor, who offered to house people in the church’s gym.“We weren’t sure exactly how we were going to do this,” he said. “It was almost zero notice, and we were busy cleaning up our own messes in our homes, just like everybody else in Anchorage. But when we heard that there would be people without a roof, without a warm place to sleep, without food, the answer was ‘yes.’”Within an hour the church community pulled together mattresses and bedding. Sal’s New York Grill and Catering donated meals, and other volunteers hosted BINGO games and provided entertainment.“If the church doesn’t exist for this,” Pastor Bartel said, “then why do we exist?”Betty Sanchez Sopcak (l), her husband Daniel (bottom), and her uncle James Sugar (r) take shelter with other residents of Karluk Manor at St. John United Methodist Church after the Nov. 30 earthquake. (Hillman/Alaska Public Media)Karluk resident Betty Sanchez Sopcak, who said she prayed like she never had before during the earthquake, was happy to be welcomed at the church.“And I thank God for this wonderful church that took Karluk Manor in,” she said. “And the people here are just wonderful. God’s blessing them through helping.”But she said she is also ready to go home, or at least move closer.After two nights at the church, the group was moved to the Red Cross Shelter at Fairview Recreation Center, not far from Karluk. The shelter housed about 15 people Saturday night, according to their spokesperson Cari Dighton. They expected about 60 people on Sunday, including all of the Karluk Manor residents. The shelter will remain open until it is no longer necessary.RurAL CAP is seeking donations to fix the water main and other damages, such as broken televisions that provide entertainment to people with major mobility challenges. You can give here.