Last Updated on December 17, 2018 by Karl Thompson
Eight leading private schools send more pupils to Oxford and Cambridge than three-quarters of all state secondary schools.
These eight schools include some of the most expensive fee-paying independent schools in the country, including Westminster and Eton.
- The eight schools sent 1, 310 pupils to Oxbridge fro 2015 to 2017,
- Compared to 2,894 state schools which sent just 1, 220 pupils.
Now you might think this is simply due to the better standard of candidates in private schools leading to more applications to Oxford and Cambridge, however the statics below suggest Oxford and Cambridge and Russel Group universities bias their acceptances in favour of Independent schools and selective (grammar) schools and against comprehensives and the post-compulsory sector…..
The statistics above show that…
- Only 34% of applications to Oxbridge are made from private schools, but 42% of offers are made to privately schooled pupils
- 32% of applications to Oxbridge are made from comprehensive schools, but only 25% of offers are made to comprehensively schooled children.
This means you are significantly more likely to get an offer if you apply from a private school compared to a comprehensive school. A similar ‘offer bias’ is found for Russel Group universities.
Why might this be the case?
It could be that the standards of applications are better from Independent Schools (and selective schools), in fact this is quite likely given that such institutions are university factories, unlike comprehensive.
However, it might also just be pure class-bias, especially with the case of Oxbridge, where interviews and old-school tie connections might be significant enough to make the difference, given the relatively small numbers of applicants.
Possibly the best overall theory which explains this is ‘cultural capital‘ theory?
Sources/ Find out More
The Sutton Trust: Access to Advantage (full report)