Private Schools Keep Their Grip on Oxbridge Admissions

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 26, 2006 | Go to article overview

Private Schools Keep Their Grip on Oxbridge Admissions


Byline: ELIZABETH HOPKIRK

LONDON'S private schools have maintained their grip on Oxbridge places despite attempts by the Government to encourage more state school children to apply.

An Evening Standard survey of 18 leading state and private schools in the capital has found that more than twice as many feepaying pupils as state school children will be starting at Oxbridge colleges next month.

Both state and independent schools have managed to get more pupils into the universities than last year but our analysis shows the private sector still maintains a firm hold on places.

In our snapshot survey 67 per cent of Oxbridge places went to private school pupils this year, compared with 70 per cent last year. State school pupils won 33 per cent of places this year, a marginal improvement on last year's 30 per cent.

Confirmed places were offered to 325 pupils at the private schools we spoke to, while only 159 were made to state pupils.

Campaigners for state education are disappointed. "There continues to be an uneven distribution of places at the two premier universities for pupils from state schools," said Olive Forsythe of the National Union of Teachers. "While attempts are being made to address it, more still needs to be done.

"With 93 per cent of children still going to state schools, the question has to be asked why does this disparity continue?

"The results at state schools are as good as independent schools. The causes are unclear. It may be that there is still a reluctance among young people in state schools to apply to Oxbridge, feeling they won't stand a chance. …

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