Admissions to Oxbridge dominated by just eight schools, study shows

ITV is reporting that eight of the UK’s top schools get as many students into Oxford and Cambridge universities as three-quarters of all schools and colleges put together, a study has found.

Analysis by social mobility charity The Sutton Trust showed that eight schools sent 1,310 pupils to Oxbridge over three years, while over the same period, 2,894 other schools sent just 1,220 students between them.

The report also found that 42% of places at Oxford and Cambridge go to independent school students, even though just 7% of the general population attend a private school.

Other key findings in the Access to Advantage report included:

  • Independent school pupils are seven times more likely to gain a place at Oxford or Cambridge compared to those in non-selective state schools, and over twice as likely to take a place at Russell Group institutions.
  • 21% of higher education applications from independent schools are for Oxford or Cambridge, compared to 5% at comprehensive schools and 4% at sixth form colleges.

Meanwhile, the study, using data from between 2015 and 2017, also highlighted disparity among higher education applicants from different parts of England, with around 6% from the South East, South West, London and east of England going to Oxbridge, compared with only 3-4% of those from the North or the Midlands.

The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities including Oxford and Cambridge, said it was working hard to improve social mobility.

Chief executive Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “Russell Group universities believe strongly in the transformative power of higher education. We want to recruit students with potential and drive, regardless of background.”

Read more here: Admissions to Oxbridge dominated by just eight schools, study shows

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Emma

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


SEND funding crisis 'close to risking school safety'
The great school holiday debate
Categories: Exams, Free Schools, Higher Education, Private Schools, Research and University.


  1. Anonymous

    One of my son’s friends applied to Oxford from a poorly performing state comprehensive. He was predicted 4 A stars at A level and was invited for interview but not offered a place. He got 4 A stars and took up a place at another Russell Group university. We learned that they look at GCSEs and because the school was so bad when he was at GCSE a lot of pupils ended up with lower grades in English. He got a B, no one got an A star in the whole year group. Oh and he does a sport to national standard. I’m not sure what more he could have done to get offered a place except perhaps to have gone to Eton?

Let us know what you think...