§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance he is issuing to higher education institutions on the assessment of academic merit without reference to social or cultural factors affecting an individual. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
It is not for Government to prescribe university policies for which universities are themselves responsible. We look to them to ensure that they admit on the basis of merit, taking into account appropriate factors which may well go beyond simply using predicted A-level scores. We have asked the Higher Education Funding Council to look at best practice and disseminate it throughout the sector so that all universities have admissions processes which are fair and transparent.