Straight from the horse's mouth:
'in the future it will be easier for independent school pupils to access our courses' - the horse being a spokesman for Scotland's universities, clearly not impressed by the skills-based approach of the Curriculum for Excellence.
Some good news for Scottish students too: the astonishingly mean maintenance loans available until now (falling to £916 a year if you earn more than around £40,000) has from next academic year been changed to a right to all, regardless of parental income, to a loan of £4500. Better than nothing, and more in line with the arrangements south of the border, though Scots will have to start repayments as soon as they earn just shy of £16,000, unlike their English fellow students who don't start repaying until they earn £22,000.
Talk of the AAB+, now ABB+ and the potential for this to be dropped further in subsequent years creating a market free-for-all was interesting. For those not familiar with this scheme the implications for students are best summarised as follows:
Applicants to English unis: get ABB or the equivalent and you will be treated much more favourably this year by universities as their funding arrangements favour you over less high-achieving applicants.
This does not help the scots however: if you can afford it and can satisfy the residency requirements you have a much better chance of getting a place by being an English resident. Remember the cost of tuition is not up front - many students and their families think it's debt - it isn't really it's a tax, which you only repay if you earn over the threshold. Your chances of landing the big job are greater if you have been to the right university and studied the right course.
Don't make educational decisions based on money or parental pressure: choose the university and the finance will work out longer term.