3 OCTOBER 1947, Page 16


Snt,—With most of " Graduate's " letter about State-aided students I would agree, but I wonder on what sort of evidence he bases his statement that this year's examinations show "a disturbingly high proportion of failures—almost all of them F.E.T. students." I can speak from personal knowledge only of Cambridge, but I would expect to find exactly the opposite here. Not only has the Ministry of Labour's 90 per cent. rule worked flexibly and satisfactorily, but of course Further Education Grants have been awarded only to men accepted by colleges as promising enough to derive benefit from university education, and the enormous number of applications (still pouring in) has enabled colleges to select only the best men. The surprising thing has been that some of the lads direct from school and chosen in the normal way have failed to hold their own, and in some cases have done unexpectedly badly.

If the F.E.T. scheme has in any university led to the admission of "a substantial number of students of indifferent quality" that is entirely the fault of the university or college authorities, for it is on them that the onus has lain of selecting the students ; and I have not heard the faintest suggestion that this has in fact happened at any Cambridge college. But it would indeed be valuable to have a statistical analysis of what has happened in each university when the F.E.T. scheme peters out in two years' time.—Yours sincerely, DAVID THOMSON. Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge