Your income, your lifestyle and more importantly your life expectancy is determined by your job, which in turn is determined by which university you went to - which is largely determined by which school you went to. Nothing new in this, why do you think the rich pay so much for their kids to go to private school? Don’t Oxford and Cambridge have more pupils from private schools? Isn’t the Cabinet made up of people who went to Eton and then Oxford or Cambridge?
What is new is how competitive and expensive it is to get into university. Which means brains and academic achievement do not in themselves guarantee a place. Your university application needs to be supported by an impressive list of interests and skills which make you stand out.
Sporting prowess has always been valued by university admission tutors but we are not talking about playing for the school first eleven, you need to have represented at a county level at least. Being a chess champion, playing a musical instrument and voluntary work with the homeless are clearly not something you can suddenly embark on in your last year in sixth form. You need to demonstrate that you have always been a talented, creative and interesting person with a social conscience and a good team spirit.
What better than voluntary work in your local hospital?
Obviously you have a much better chance of getting into medical school if one of your parents is a doctor but perhaps each GP surgery could be linked with a local school so that bright sixth formers from deprived back grounds could shadow the practice nurse or be mentored by one of the GPs.
Just as your parents started your university fund when you were born acquiring the right experiences can’t start too early. You need to do your homework to get your grades but you also need to keep at the piano lesions, if bat and ball aren’t your thing then swimming or cross country will have to do and of course you can’t drop either of those foreign languages but they may be helpful on your gap year in Africa.
In other words your very bright working class kid has even less chance of getting a place at the right uni and therefore going on to enjoy a healthier and longer life. Unless of course you were sponsored by your local GP commissioning consortium - cheaper in the long term!