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More than six out of 10 state school applicants 61

Posted on 23 October 2010

More than six out of 10 state school applicants (61.3 per cent) are rejected after the interview, compared with 55.9 per cent of students from fee-paying schools.State school sixth-formers who are made offers are also more likely to lose their places by failing to gain the required grades. More than one in five state school students (21.6 per cent) offered a Cambridge place will never get to the university because of disappointing A-level results, compared with less than 15 per cent of fee-paying students.John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, which represents schools in the both state and independent sectors, said Ox-bridge interviews were not doing justice to state pupils. “State school pupils find the Oxbridge admission procedures less congenial than independent school pupils. The interview process is still causing problems for the less confident students, who do tend to come from state schools.”The colleges admitting the highest proportion of state- sector pupils were King’s at 78 per cent; Robinson, 64 per cent; and Fitzwilliam, 60 per cent. Those with the lowest proportion of state school pupils were Gonville and Caius, 36 per cent; Peterhouse, 43 per cent; and Magdalene, 44 per cent.. Christopher Neil Lewis Penny, artist and teacher: born Blandford Forum, Dorset 24 February 1947; married 1977 Ailsa Kennedy (one son, two daughters); died Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 5 November 2001. His teaching reflected the craftsmanship and integrity innate and apparent in his own prints and watercolours, some included in the Morley Gallery retrospective organised hastily by friends just before his early death.The artist and teacher Ian Welsh, eventually a colleague, remembers his first encounter with Penny.

Welsh had hired arts films to show students at Harlow Technical College. There in one was Chris Penny,suddenly filling the room like a bubbly-haired, blond Adonis. Asked by the unseen interviewer, “Why did you come to London?”, Chris, looking straight at the camera, and with that expressive eyebrow of his raised, uttered the immortal words: “Well, I was in an apr?art school situation”, which for me defined perfectly being unemployed as a young artist.Penny was born in Blandford Forum, Dorset, in 1947, and studied at Bournemouth College of Art, 1964-68. His lecturing experience was to include periods at Harrow, Camberwell College of Art and for many years as head of printmaking at Byam Shaw School of Art in north London. Between 1972 and 1979, Penny contributed prints to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He moved to East Anglia in 1979, taking up a fellowship at Norwich School of Art. With Ian Welsh and Patrick Jones, he was included in the John Brinkley Fellows 1981/82 show at the Norwich School gallery.When Welsh took over the foundation course there, Penny was “at the top of my wish-list when it came to choosing visiting lecturers”.

It began a 10-year teaching partnership first at Norwich – the students there christening them Fat Man & Boy Blunder – then at Mill House, Welsh’s private art school on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, and finally at Chelsea Art School in London.There, Welsh arranged for Penny to take onan overconfident group of postgraduate, cutting-edge printmakers. I watchedfascinated as he de-constructed their collective cool and wowed them with his technical knowledge. Then, out of respect for their individual interests, he was able to offer them a way forward in their development.His students appreciated the extrovert, ebullient raconteur, who always had an eye for detail. Chris was profoundly serious and often insecure and I believe that it was this paradox that informed his work.Hundreds of unpaid hours were given by this enthusiast.Penny’s reputation as a fine-art printmaker led to limited-edition etchings from several British and American publishing houses. The National Trust, American Express, Eastern Electricity, Phillips Petroleum and a number of Cambridge colleges commissioned images.His period at Chelsea brought to an end his formal teaching in the early 1990s. He then concentrated on his own prints and a fine series of watercolours.

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