Is Oxford University biased against BME applicants?

March 16, 2013 in Blog, Gus in the Media, Television

Earlier this month, professor Gus John went on the Islam Channel to comment on a news story published by The Guardian, where  Oxford University was accused of “institutional bias” against the admission of black and minority ethnic (BME) students.

Here’s the video of that interview:

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Gus John calls for regrading of 2012 GCSEs

September 20, 2012 in Blog

Professor Gus John joins a number of eminent academics and campaigners for children’s education rights in calling for a regrading of papers in this Summer’s examinations fiasco. Gus John says:

I believe that however much Michael Gove pleads ‘no interference’, he cannot dissociate himself from the political and policy context in which the examining boards shifted the goalposts and the time they chose to do so. It is devious, morally reprehensible and gruesomely demotivating to hardworking students and teachers to play such a nasty trick.

Last Thursday night, I attended a most uplifting awards ceremony at Featherstone High School in Southall and handed over awards and spoke to the school community. The high ambitions of the students, and of the staff for them, was so evident and so clearly reflected in their results and in the destinations of their Year 13 leavers, that it was heartbreaking to hear some of the personal stories both staff and students had to share.

I have said repeatedly that is my perennial regret that there is not a strong, organised and disciplined national school students movement and corresponding parents movement that could mobilise themselves and join forces with teachers in protesting such cynical abuse of power by the Executive and their satellites. Read the rest of this entry →

Reviewing legal education: hell of a job

July 15, 2012 in Gus in the Media, Print

"Reviewing legal education: hell of a job" (The Guardian)

The following article was published by The Guardian on July 13th, 2012

Professor Gus John, the chair of the diversity group advising the biggest review of training for lawyers in thirty years, has issued a call for “affirmative action” to compel the legal profession to recruit more students from lower socio-economic backgrounds into its ranks.

Speaking at Wednesday’s legal education and training review (LETR) symposium in Manchester, John lamented “systems at work in the legal profession that are impervious to diversity initiatives”.

The fellow of the London Centre for Leadership in Learning said that it had become established practice for City law firms and leading barristers‘ chambers to recruit from a “narrow pool” of candidates with top class degrees from Oxbridge or Russell Group universities.

This “inclusion of some” had led to “exclusion of others” – namely, bright students from ex-polytechnics – John added. He emphasised that he regarded this latter group as on a par ability-wise with many of their counterparts at big name universities. Read the rest of this entry →

Gerry German, fighter at the barricades

May 21, 2012 in Gus in the Media, Print

Hideously diverse Britain: Gerry German, fighter at the barricades (The Guardian)

The following article was published by The Guardian on May 20th, 2012.

We said farewell to Gerry German last week, in a cavernous church with extra chairs laid out, but still standing room only. Alex Pascall, the writer, broadcaster and Caribbean sage, scanned the congregation. “Yes, the rebels are here,” he said.

And that was fitting because Gerry, in his way, was the rebels’ rebel. He was 84 when he died, but to the end he was ready for a scrap, eager to put his foot down on a point of principle. “He died with his boots on,” former teaching colleague Norman Girvan said. Read the rest of this entry →

Comment: Boris Johnson and youth violence in London

April 24, 2012 in Blog

"Stop n Search at Notting Hill Carnival 2011", by belkus (Flickr)

On April 23rd, The Guardian published an article entitled “Boris Johnson ‘has done virtually nothing to tackle youth violence’“. Professor Gus John commented on the news story, saying:

Ron Belgrave is finally lifting the lid on the sham that passed as Boris Johnson’s engagement with the issue of serious youth violence in London and in particular the relentless spate of killings of young black people by their peers.  The ‘Time for Action’ strategy had a grand title but was never going to deliver very much because the Mayor was clearly committed to two courses of action that are typical of the political class, irrespective of the colour of their rosettes.

The first was to treat young black people’s involvement in knife and gun enabled crime as if it arose from their congenital propensity to evil and had nothing to do with the state of Britian and the material conditions and structural marginalisation in which that generation and their fathers before them were nurtured and continue to exist.  The second was to indulge in a crude form of benign racism by attaching to himself a black special adviser who had already been publicly discredited and made to resign his post as Deputy Mayor, someone who had no proven expertise to match the complexities of the task facing any Mayor in getting to grips with the scandalous number of murders of black young men and the similarly troubling number of their assailants being given life sentences for those murders.  Read the rest of this entry →