Percentage of poorer students accepted to Oxbridge falls, figures show

The Guardian is reporting new figures that suggests the percentage of disadvantaged students being accepted at Oxford and Cambridge has fallen over the past decade.

Oxbridge takes fewer students from poor socio-economic backgrounds than every other university in the country, although both institutions have seen a rise in the proportion of entrants from state schools. 

In 2004/05, disadvantaged pupils made up 12.3% of entrants at Oxford. By 2014/15 this had fallen to 10%. 

Cambridge showed a similar decline, down from 12.4% to 10.2% over the same period.

Durham, Exeter, Glasgow, Imperial College London and Belfast’s Queen’s University also recorded a fall over the past decade despite pressure to widen access to higher education…

“It is worrying that the access gap between those from poorer backgrounds and their more advantaged peers has actually widened at some universities,” said Lee Elliott Major, chief executive of social mobility charity Sutton Trust…

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said progress was being made to widen access but that universities cannot solve the problem on their own…

“There are still far too many children from disadvantaged backgrounds underachieving at school and receiving poor advice and guidance,” she said. “It will take time, commitment and sustained action from a range of agencies to raise pupils’ aspirations, increase attainment and improve the advice and guidance offered…”

More at: Percentage of poorer students accepted to Oxbridge falls, figures show


In the full report both Oxford and Cambridge universities point out they use a different definition of disadvantaged students – in Oxford’s case, for example, based on post codes with known socio-economic deprivation or low participation in higher education worked out with the Office of Fair Access.

That said, what do you make of the findings here and what of the comments from Wendy Piatt who seems to be suggesting it is the fault of schools rather than universities that the situation appears to be deteriorating. Any validity in this?

Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


The proportion of disadvantaged students at Oxbridge is down but who is mostly responsible?

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  1. MyAuntyDoodoo

    SchoolsImprove Why is this a shock? Welcome ball thing at these places wld cost most ordinary families a month’s rent! Dress/black tie etc

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