Liverpool and Edinburgh universities are actually admitting more private school students than five years ago

35 per cent of Edinburgh’s intake is from private schools

Liverpool and Edinburgh universities are admitting more privately educated students than they were five years ago, new data has revealed.

According to Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA), 69.8 per cent of new students admitted to Edinburgh were from state schools in 2015/2016, but by this academic year that dropped to 65.5 per cent.

In Liverpool, 88.9 per cent of new students were from state schools in the academic intake of 2015/16. With HESA’s data there is evidence of a drop to 87.5 per cent this year.

Out of the Russel Group universities, over a third have had a drop in state school students compared to the last four years.

Birmingham, Cardiff, and Exeter universities are among those where the proportion of state educated pupils has fallen.

There has been an increasing amount of pressure placed on the country’s top universities to boost the number of disadvantaged backgrounds they admit. There has been hundreds of millions of pounds spent on “outreach” programmes, encouraging more students from disadvantage backgrounds to apply.

Liverpool University said they are “absolutely committed” to admitting students from various backgrounds, adding that they are “proud of our work in this area”.

They went on to say: “Over the last four years we have spent over £59m on work to support the widening support, although we have seen a small drop in state school students as a proportion of our total student population, the actual number of students attending from state schools has increased.”

Edinburgh University also made a statement saying: “The University is proud of its work on widening access and welcomes applications from students from all backgrounds.

"School background plays no part in our admissions decisions.

“More than 80 per cent of our Scottish domiciled entrants consistently come from a state school, students from care-experienced backgrounds have increased by 50 per cent in the last 2 years, and the proportion of students from Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas has almost doubled since 2015.”