Bar aptitude test will increase BPTC success rate

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  • "Pearson Vue has put systems in place to cater for students requiring adjustments.

    It has also recommended a pass rate threshold to minimise the impact on different ethnic groups and improve failure rates on the course."

    Oh... so why not just come out and say it... a handicap system or 'affirmative action' eh? What they gonna do? give points based on skin colour? 'Adjustments'... yeah, riiight... it'll be poor white males that lose out, always poor white males.

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  • Unlimited resits? I thoroughly disagree with that - if you have been shown more than a handful of times you clearly don't have the aptitude for a life at the Bar you should not be able to get through on a combination of trial-and-error in the answers and Daddy's unlimited funding pot. By permitting unlimited resits they have undermined the apparent goal of increasing the skill of the Bar and reducing pupillage competition by only allowing the best candidates in by allowing rich hopefuls to essentially carry on regardless. Don't get me wrong, the ability to do a resit is vital - after all if your mind goes blank, or on post-exam reflection you realise a major "clanger" or you have valid extenuating circ's then you thoroughly deserve another shot. Just not infinite levels.

    I also wonder why ethnic groups are cited as the reason for a pass threshold - only the backwards and racists (same difference) believe skin colour dictates intelligence ranges. There is definitly a public perception of the Bar (and as with all legal jobs I optomistically see this as unjustified) being mildly racist and frankly this adds fuel to the fire.

    Both issues can also relate to what Jane Henthorn has posted - that if people start being passed on skin colour then many well-talented people who happen to be white and male will be replaced by a less apt candidate who has a different level of melanin. These frankly stupid and counter-productive rules should not be put in place; personally I would rather keep the Bar we have now than end up with a politically-correct advert of mediocre talent. The Bar is meant to be for the very best of the best advocates and entry should only ever be on merit - nothing else is or ever should be relevent.

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  • I don't think it's a case of people being passed on skin colour but rather that typically those who come from ethnic backgrounds are more often than not coming from state schools, some of which are not that great. The confidence that is instilled in you in private school is not necessarily that of which you'd get in a state school. And I would have thought that this measure would impliedly help white males, particularly those who share the same educational background.

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  • My experience of the BVC/BPTC was that a lot of the black and ethnic minority students were not British-educated. Many of them struggled to have the linguistic fluency in English that a barrister needs. The tutors repeatedly gave them feedback about this but there was no support offered within the course other than being given comments like "you really need to work on your grammar" and a couple of grammar books in the law school library.

    I suspect many of these students will struggle at interview for pupillage, not because they are ethnic minorities, but because they are not native speakers of English.

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