Private school students get into Oxbridge more because they’re just smarter, says professor

If you see someone wearing a signet ring, it just means they’re really smart

Private school students get into Oxbridge because they’re just smarter than state school students, a Sussex professor has claimed.

In a piece for ConservativeHome arguing that British society is already meritocratic, emeritus professor Peter Saunders writes: “The reason privately-educated kids get into Oxbridge in disproportionate numbers is that they are, on average, brighter.”

He adds: “This shouldn’t really surprise anybody (after all, these kids generally have very successful parents). Yet this is a truth which seemingly must never be acknowledged.”

Research has shown that state schools pupils outperform private school pupils at university.

A 2015 study found that students from state schools with A*s at A-level tended to get better degrees than private school students with the same A-levels.

In his article, Saunders argues that: “In today’s Britain, talent and hard work easily trump social class background. We should be telling our children this, rather than filling their heads with Marxist fairy tales about unfair privilege and class bias.”

He says Britain’s social mobility rate is average for Europe, and that, as people inherit work ethic and intelligence from their parents, it should be expected that their success mirrors their parents.

Saunders adds that the fact universities take students from poorer backgrounds who have lower grades – known as contextual offers – shows students from low-income backgrounds aren’t discriminated against.

“It is much easier to tell voters that the system is rotten and that you know how to fix it,” Saunders writes, claiming politicians are reluctant to face up to the reality, “rather than acknowledge that the system is remarkably open, and the reason their child has failed to secure a top job is because he or she simply isn’t bright enough, or didn’t work hard enough.”

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