Cam Missing Out…

...not on the top spot in the league tables, but on bright students.

Cambridge is missing out on bright state school pupils because teachers don’t think their students can achieve places.

According to a survey carried out by the Sutton Trust, only 44% of state school teachers would encourage their brightest students to apply to Oxford or Cambridge. The numbers are falling, research suggests, as this is down from 50% just five years ago.

It seems that the ‘myths’ of elitism that surround Oxbridge have played a part in this shocking statistic. The survey has also revealed that many state school teachers wildly underestimate the proportion of pupils from state schools at Oxford and Cambridge.

Even though in reality 57% of UK students admitted to Oxbridge are from state schools, just 7% of the teachers guessed that over half of the UK students at Oxbridge were from the state sector.

Sir Peter Lampl, the chairman of the Sutton Trust, was concerned about the consequences of these results for pupils and universities alike: “The sad consequence of these findings is that Oxford and Cambridge are missing out on talented students in state schools.”

He stated that in order to change the situation, “We need to do much more to dispel the myths in schools about Oxbridge and other leading universities.”

Under immense pressure to up the Oxbridge intake of state school pupils, the results of the survey may lead to a change in approach. Queens’ Access Officer, Zoe Wilson, commented that the perceptions held by teachers are a great shame and has “no doubt that their false beliefs rub off on their pupils and discourage many from applying here.”

She believes that “visiting schools and talking to sixth-formers is one of the best ways to change misconceptions about Cambridge University and life as a student here” and hopes that the University will encourage more outreach projects.

  • Tired and emotional

    Usually I deride all the stupid puntastic Tab headlines but I was so disappointed with this boring one. I'm so depressed about everything.

    • Man

      man up

  • Elly Nowell

    People like me should be proud of ourselves!

  • TPJ

    More like the state school ppl get a lucky escape when one considers the pressures of cam compared to other institutions – although I must get back to training with U21's

    • Floating apostrophe?

      I have lost all respect for you TPJ.

  • Revd Slipper

    Basically, most state school teachers are idiots. What's new?

  • umm

    "Even though in reality 57% of UK students admitted to Oxbridge are from state schools"

    While that's true how many of them are grammar schools which technically count as 'state schools'?

    • areyouretarded

      grammar schools ARE state schools. they are paid for BY THE TAXPAYER. therefore they are STATE SCHOOLS.

      • Ok….

        Yes they are, but they're really not what most people are thinking of when they talk about state schools. Only a tiny percentage of state schools are grammar schools, but pupils from them account for a comparatively large proportion of the "state school students" at Oxbridge. Surely the problem is that the majority of bright kids in the country aren't being encouraged to apply – the funding details of a small number of schools doesn't detract from this.

      • naww

        Of course they are state schools but there are only a few left, and most people attend the sort of state comprehensive which replaced them. It's still an important access issue that most state comprehensives aren't sending many students at all to oxbridge.

      • umm

        Yes that's what I said. The point is that people keep quoting this 57% figure like it means anything for access. As if it's proof that Cambridge is mostly people from normal backgrounds and that it's not posh at all. I'd say there are very few students from comprehensive schools at Cambidge.

    • Objective Observer

      Just had a look at the stats for 2010; independent and grammar schools made up 61% of domestic acceptances. Grammar schools made up 36% of all maintained school(state school) acceptances.

  • Zoe Wilson

    is enough to make any 17 year-old guy apply to Queens'

  • missing out?

    or are state school scum just thick?

    • NAIL


      • smashed it

        trouble is they're thicker than shit, fucking aggressive and bloody plentiful. fucking proles

    • Hmmm

      Bet your father (or butler) is wishing he'd pulled out and finished onto the bedsheets, could have saved himself the 20k a year school fees.

      • Marge

        Not even particularly amusing.

      • Old Boy

        Only 20k? It's basically a state school if it's that cheap.

    • Or…

      is missing out just a dickhead?

    • Top grammar

      At least state school 'scum' know the rules of grammar. I was taught capitalisation in Year 1 at my state primary school.

    • Shut Up

      There isn't much wrong with Cambridge, but there are some things. You, for example

  • Statistician

    57% of Oxbridge students are from state schools. But 93% of the school population is in state schools, so 43% of the places here are given to the 7% of the privately educated population. Doesn't sound as much of an open playing field as the uni claims it is.

    • flawed

      implicitly assuming that the highest-achieving pupils are even distributed among state and private schools?

      • Considered

        Its a fair assumption. Having a rich mummy and daddy shouldn't have an impact on intelligence, just on opportunities.

        • interesting

          might want to ask yourself how mummy and daddy got rich in the first place

          • Personally

            prostitution and selling heroin. What's it to you?

        • Tw-wat.

          The point isn't that it impacts on intelligence, just achievement.

          Which, by the way, is our admissions criterion.

    • Better Statistician


      Try looking at the distribution of those meeting the Cambridge entrance criteria across the private and state sector.

      You're right: it isn't a level playing field, but this is – somewhat predictably – because the world isn't. This is quite clearly a Bad Thing. However, it is not the job of Cambridge or Oxford to be a political scapegoat for the failings of the state sector, nor is it their job to correct these failings by admitting lower-achieving students on the basis of nebulous unproven 'ability'.

      The Universities will continue to admit on a meritocratic basis, assessed by performance at the time of application. Anything other criterion is not only false, but disingenuous.

      • Supervisor


  • too true

    This happened to me. All the bright kids in my year at school were encouraged to apply to places like Bristol and Durham instead of Oxbridge because the perception was that we probably wouldn't get in, and wouldn't have a nice time if we did because everyone would be cleverer and posher. As it happened, Bristol rejected me and, from what my friends there tell me, it's much more rah than Cambridge. So glad I didn't listen to their bullshit.

    • chill

      trust me mate everyone here is cleverer than you

      • too true

        I mean yeah, obviously I can't compare intellectually to people who troll on Tab articles, but I struggle through.

        • you crying?

          stop crying

  • Student

    'myths' of elitism. What bullshit. Elitism may have been reduced but it is still here.

    • Grow up.

      It might be here, but unfortunately nobody quite knows what it is.

      Our meritocratic system is rightfully élitist: higher performers are accepted. If, by élitism, you're referring to the social or political élite, unfortunately occupying this wooly category correlates positively with performance.

      Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater: we want a system which favours AN élite of achievers, just not the élite whose only admissions criterion is birthright. On the whole, fellows successfully select from the former group, and – to the extent that the two can be distinguished – not the latter.

      • Student

        You are é twat

  • Queen

    Actually, the problem is state school teachers who are so pissed off about getting rejected by Oxbridge that they tell their students they'll get rejected too

  • my two cents

    This is silly because even the rare starred first is hardly going to make any impact in the greater scheme of things. Basically my point is that Cambridge students are not that amazing and that's why state school teachers should encourage their students to apply. What is the loss? using 1 out of four application positions ( at least for medicine) to apply to Cambridge is not a big risk and any student with a chance of getting into Cambridge will probably get into the rest anyway.

    On the other hand, telling them not to apply because of the ridiculous work load and posh social scene (from what I hear) is another story…

Get the best of The Tab on our app.

What should your college disaffiliate from?

What should students turn their lack-of-disaffiliation anger towards?

Tab Guide to etiquette: Lounge suits and dinner jackets

How to make it seem like your valet knows how to dress you.

Clean Bandit to DJ at Jesus May Ball

No place we’d rather be.

, Exeter Editor of The Tab

Made In Chelsea has gone to the dogs

For God’s sake, will you maintain a modicum of decorum?

, Assistant Editor

Music festivals on terror alert

Nightclubs and festivals are both at risk of Isis suicide attacks

, Features Editor

Everything Mizz magazine taught us about life in our twenties

Mum thought Sugar and Bliss were too sexy

Review: The best supermarket gin and tonic tins

Because there’s more to life than Gordon’s


NUS disaffiliation: The story so far

Three SUs have voted to disaffiliate and three have to remain

The best cheap supermarket prosecco, according to a wine expert

‘This one tastes like it’s been left in the fridge for a week’