Private school intake at Oxbridge is rapidly decreasing, new research shows

‘The reality is that there are groups at Cambridge that are massively over-represented’


New statistics from The Sunday Times show that Cambridge and Oxford admission offers awarded to state schools have increased in the last five years, while places awarded to private schools have reached a new low.

Eton College received only 48 offers this year, which fell from 99 offers in 2014. While at St Paul’s School for boys, the number of successful applicants has dropped from 30 per cent to 25 per cent since 2017.

The numbers could not look more different at Hills Road Sixth Form College, a state school located in Cambridge, which received 69 offers for Oxbridge places this year. The school’s annual average between 2015 to 2018 was 60 offers.

In August 2020, Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope said the incoming cohort of freshers would “be the most socially diverse ever”. The numbers have certainly improved. Between 2015 and 2020, the University of Cambridge’s state school intake increased from 62.3 per cent to 70 per cent. Cambridge’s intake is 1.3 per cent higher than its counterpart, the University of Oxford.

Andrew Halls, headmaster of Wimbledon (KCS),  told The Times that private school pupils could “see the writing on the wall”, and were now looking at university opportunities in Europe and America. He claims that Oxford and Cambridge “are two of the most academic universities in the world: they are right to seek out talent from all schools, but it would not be good for the UK if they turn down brilliant children just because they come from top private schools.”

However, Richard Partington, an admissions tutor at Cambridge, told The Times: “The reality is that there are groups at Cambridge that are massively over-represented.

“You could focus on Eton and say that they are not getting as many kids in as five years ago, or you could look at the London Academy of Excellence – now getting much larger numbers in – or at Brampton Manor.

“Their kids are getting in because they are getting really good A-level grades and are really good students. State schools are getting better.”

Feature Image: Graham Horn, Geograph, Creative Commons Licence

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