I feel like this is conflating two issues. On the one hand, being from a poor family means you’re much more likely to make the decision to go into work, because you need to support yourself as your family can’t afford to. On the other hand, being from a poor family DOES NOT PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING GOOD GRADES. I’m from a really crappy part of London, and I went to some schools which were basically on the verge of being closed all the time, living OFSTED to OFSTED visit. I also managed 3 As at A level, while working a part time job, in one year (instead of the usual two). I’m not super fantastically bright, I’m not amazingly gifted, and my parents, while perfectly nice people, are neither academically pushy nor particularly well educated (one of them didn’t even manage O levels, and both dropped out ASAP). By allowing students from poorer backgrounds an easier ride into uni just because they’re from a poorer background, you’re telling them they’re not good enough to be held to the same standards as the richer students. You’re masking the problem, which is that it’d be nice if the poorer schools had a chance at a half decent teacher, or if there were access to the educational tools the richer kids have, like private tuition or iPads or the 8-12 hours a week that’s the most recommended to work during A level study. I totally agree that money should be spent earlier than university, in order to allow people to have a level playing field, but making it level does not mean moving the hoops down a bit for the poor kids and up a bit for the rich kids. It’s also important to remember that a large part of passing the A levels well is based on the person taking them. If you’re not willing to work at it, it doesn’t matter what socio-economic group you’re from, you’ll still fail to do yourself proud.