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Selective state and private schools similar for Oxbridge entrance

(24 Posts)
Xenia Fri 08-Jul-11 09:41:27

This is not too bad. The 30 selective state and top 30 selective private schools send similar numbers to Oxbridge 74% into good univeristies v 87%. That to me is not much difference given at private scools you will have a lot more opportunities, better ability to debate, confidence, accent and all the rest and shows selective state schools do very well. If that is so why not make more state schools selective or give every parent a £5k voucher to use wherever they can gain entry for their child?

Elite schools take third of Oxbridge places

By Chris Cook, Education Correspondent

An elite of just 3 per cent of English schools accounts for almost one-third of undergraduate admissions to Oxford and Cambridge, according to research by the Sutton Trust, the social mobility charity.

It found that five institutions – four private schools and one sixth-form college – sent 946 pupils to Oxbridge in three years. This is more than what came from the nearly 2,000 schools – two-thirds of all secondary schools – that sent two or fewer pupils to the two universities during that time.
University access is still a fraught issue: next week, Offa, the university access regulator, will release its verdicts on whether universities are pledging to do enough work to help poor children access university. Each institution must get a positive verdict if they wish to charge more than £6,000 ($9,600) per year in tuition fees.

The Sutton Trust found a large gap between private and state school entrants. At the average private school, 5 per cent of children go to Oxbridge. For all schools, the equivalent figure is only 2 per cent.

This inequality continues when examining admissions to a larger sample of 30 top universities. The Sutton Trust found that an average of 48 per cent of pupils at private schools were admitted to these institutions. Nationally, the equivalent figure was only 24 per cent.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and England’s leading educational philanthropist, said: “We know these stark inequalities in university progression rates are driven primarily by the exam results in schools, yet the data we are publishing today also reveal that university chances can vary dramatically for schools with similar average grades.”

According to the trust, the top 30 selective state schools attain similar results to the top 30 private schools, but they get an average of 74 per cent of their children into the top 30 institutions. The top 30 private schools, which achieve only marginally better results, manage 87 per cent.

A spokesman for Oxford said: “You could visit the top eight schools based on GCSE attainment and find 850 people with 5 A* grades or better, but you would have to visit the bottom 1,900 schools to get the same number.

“That’s why Oxford spends millions on outreach. Our priority is to ensure that, in schools where top attainment is rare, the one person who does achieve top grades is not disadvantaged by their relative isolation.”

But Wendy Piatt, director-general of the Russell Group of 20 research-intensive universities, said: “While the Sutton Trust makes a welcome contribution to the debate on access, we are concerned that this report fails to explain fully why some schools have different degrees of success.”

She said the Sutton Trust research did not focus on “which subjects a student has taken for A-level”. Therefore, she said, “the analysis presented ... does not properly account for the specific grades, subjects and qualifications needed to enter highly competitive degree courses”.

senua Fri 08-Jul-11 10:15:34

Never mind the Private v. State argument. What about the North/South divide? The four schools mentioned are all in London and the College is in Cambridge. Some Universities have more students from overseas than students from the northern areas.

NolaDarling Fri 08-Jul-11 10:50:29

Here is link to article:

Fairley Fri 08-Jul-11 14:43:25

Using raw numbers is probably not the best measure. Hills Road is huge and so are the Sixth Forms at Eton and Westminster. Percentages are more useful.

Lilymaid Fri 08-Jul-11 14:58:36

An annex to the report gives percentages and Hills Road is then not at the top of the state schools list. The percentage given is 8.6% - which is still very good. Hills Road is a selective college, taking the top third of state sixth formers in its area and its size is the equivalent of around 5-8 grammar school sixth forms - so if you had aggregated results for a group of grammar schools in Kent/Bucks/North Yorks or wherever you might have got similar numbers. Disclaimer - I've not done the sums so I could be wrong!

Xenia Fri 08-Jul-11 15:06:42

I think it shows selective education works for the bright. I suspect if you put a child with similar IQ into a state comp there is less added value for them.

lazymumofteenagesons Fri 08-Jul-11 15:16:38

Westminster has about 180 pupils in each sixth form year and gets up to 50% per year into oxbridge. On top of that they have pupils who choose to go to US universities or other top universities who would most probably have got oxbridge places. I suspect St. Pauls is similar, eton is much larger. If you select at 13 at this level and have superb teaching etc etc these figures are a foregone conclusion.

One interesting fact from this article is the comparison between the A level points. They are looking at comprehensives with similar A level points to selective schools but much lower proportion of oxbridge entries. Why have they not looked at the subjects these A level points are in, this is where the difference is.

Numerous mumsnet threads talk about taking GCSEs over 3 years and options/subjects available. These top private schools take between 9 and 12 GCSEs in year 11 and don't offer subjects outside the traditional. They don't waste lesson time taking exams early but they teach way further than the curriculum.

Fairley Fri 08-Jul-11 22:25:24

Some state schools also teach way further than the curriculum; they are no doubt the ones which have the highest percentage of students going on to Oxford or Cambridge.

But there remains a disparity between top independents and top state schools in terms of Oxbridge success. A comparison of A level A* results for the top schools in both sectors show that independents achieving similar or less good results on that measure (a 'teaching [or learning] beyond the curriculum' measure) nevertheless tended to send more students to Oxbridge than their state school counterparts.

mercibucket Fri 08-Jul-11 22:28:16

gosh what an amazing coincidence that the school that a lot of children of Cambridge dons go to, has a lot of students who go on to study at Cambridge

Fairley Fri 08-Jul-11 22:37:23

Agree merci Hills Road ticks lots of boxes but its still a red herring because of its size.

Xenia Sat 09-Jul-11 09:30:27

There isn't a huge difference, though between the two sectors. If you were very very poor and very clever and went to a state selective grammar in the SE you have a very good chance of Oxbridge. The fact the best of our private schools at a small additional % is not too much to worry about. In fact the survey shows we shoudl have lots of good selective schools in the state system. If grammars are good enough for some parts of the country why not all? It's very inconsistent.

fiveisanawfullybignumber Sat 09-Jul-11 11:21:43

Mercibucket, i think most of the dons would send their kids to the local private school like the Perse. DS1 went to Hills Rd, it is a fab academic school but it's by no means pushy. It's very much sink or swim there IMHO. And it's by no means an easy entrance to Oxbridge just because you go there, DS stuffed up his AS levels, didn't get all A's and didn't get his Oxbridge interview. Hills rd couldn't help him there, I feel Oxbridge do look at all applications fairly.
It does help figures that we have some excellent local state secondary schools round here to feed into hills rd.
For some though it is too big and impersonal. DD1 looked round it but hated the feel of it.

Fairley Sat 09-Jul-11 14:47:01

My goddaughter has an Oxford offer and has just left Hills Road; her mum's an academic. Hills Road has been included in the figures mostly because of volume. At an 8% hit rate though Hills Road falls between the top grammars and the more desultory ones, it's not at an extreme except in terms of raw numbers.

Xenia the top grammars rarely get in more than 20% even with the same or better results than independents securing far more places. Why?Colchester Boys is the top end with 26% for 2011, Colyton with 20%. Last year Henrietta Barnett offers stood at 21%, Queen Elizabeth's Barnet at 17%, Tiffin Girls' at 13% etc. but there are many, many grammars with far lower scores.

The point of the research is really about kids in non-selective state schools anyhow, not grammar school kids.

ellisbell Sat 09-Jul-11 19:08:56

I don't think "good" universities was defined to include foreign universities, so the gap is probably bigger than the quoted figures suggest. I doubt many state schools send pupils abroad.

Last time I looked the success rate for applicants to Oxbridge wasn't vastly dissimilar between independent and grammar, it's very different for the rest. Oxford claims the difference is that the state sector applies mainly for the most over-subscribed courses, haven't looked at Cambridge's claims.

Maybe grammar school children don't apply because they don't have quite such pushy parents, although that is clearly not true of at least one of the grammars from the way people post on here. Does anyone know what the application rate is for the schools Fairley mentioned?

The Oxbridge teaching style and short terms don't suit everyone. Their reputation for being overly academic and less practical doesn't encourage applicants for medicine and perhaps for other courses.

happyviking Sat 09-Jul-11 20:38:42

Re: Fiveis, the local dons send their kids to private schools -Ha! I'm married to a senior lecturer at Cambridge, and I work part time as a chartered engineer, but after paying the bills and the mortgage on our ex-council house there would no way be enough for private school fees! I assume their mummies and daddies are the London tycoons who live in the countyrside and commute, or they work for Microsoft or other local high tech comapnies who can pay competitive salaries, and are not resticted to the lacturer pay brackets.

Xenia Sat 09-Jul-11 21:53:08

True about it depends on the state grammar and perhaps where it is in the country as the SE has a strangehold on good exam results in the UK for some weird reason.

I know when my chidlren's father went to state grammar school I think he said there were really only 4 grammars and no comps for some reason where he was and he went to one of the 4 but they were all very bad and he was one of the few children to get to univesrity at all from one.

Yellowstone Sat 09-Jul-11 23:18:17

ellisbell what is the significance of the application rate (as distinct from the success rate) from grammars?

The issue about students failing to come forward is about comps not grammars.

ellisbell Sun 10-Jul-11 10:13:00

yellowstone the figures the Sutton Trust quotes look at the percentage of those going on to higher education who go to Oxbridge. I had assumed Fairley was quoting those figures but the percentages don't match and her figures look to be 2011 offers. Sutton Trust figures are

Colchester Boys 19%, Colyton with 15%, Henrietta Barnett 13%, Queen Elizabeth's Barnet at 22%, Tiffin Girls' at 15% and I'll add Kendrik, Latimer, Pate's as they were all at 15%.

A low percentage may be because students don't apply to Oxbridge or because Oxbridge doesn't accept them when they apply. And offers may differ from acceptances.

The really interesting figures (but I don't know if they are available anywhere) is of those qualified to apply to Oxbridge in each school how many apply and of those how many are accepted.

Although the Sutton Trust's argument is about ensuring access from all schools it is interesting that even the grammar schools don't seem to have the percentages going to Oxbridge that you would expect. Possibly they do not encourage their pupils to apply (a low application rate would tell you that), some of their pupils may not be equipped with the skills necessary to succeed or students don't have the right subjects to apply, suggesting poor career guidance. Or, as I said earlier, they may not have pushy parents or may chose not to apply.

Fairley Sun 10-Jul-11 11:01:09

The figures for Colchester Boys and Colyton are for entry 2011. There were 41 offers for Colchester in a cohort of 155 pupils = 26.5%. At Colyton there have been 20 offers this year for a cohort of 102 pupils = 19.6%.

The other figures I mentioned for the other schools are for entry 2010 except QE Barnet which is for 2009. I haven't looked at the figures given by Sutton Trust, perhaps they are more historical, or an average?

Bonsoir Sun 10-Jul-11 13:15:12

I have read the Sutton Trust report.

I believe, based on a lot of experiences and what I read that (a) that money (the ability to pay school fees) contributes very significantly to pupils' chances of going to the best universities (b) that top fee-paying schools select their pupils, but even more crucially prepare pupils far better than any other sort of school, selective grammars included, for the particular requirements of top universities, especially Oxbridge.

Fairley Sun 10-Jul-11 14:33:17

I've some experience too.

Top fee-paying schools such as Westminster bend over backwards with interview preparation in a way that I don't believe top state selectives have done hitherto, but that may be changing. That's a slightly superficial aspect anyhow and I believe tutors try hard to adjust to the interviewee to take account of the preparation they're likely to have had.

My own observation is that there are top state selectives which prepare pupils extremely well in terms of encouraging the development of original thinking and teaching beyond the curriculum. I do believe also that more pupils from some of these schools should be encouraged to apply and I strongly agree that the parents on the whole aren't nearly as driven as the parents in top independents, so I believe that some students who would flourish at Oxford or Cambridge are lost on the way.

Not nearly as many as are lost in the non-selective part of the sector however, but that's the point The Sutton Trust has been making for years.

Xenia Sun 10-Jul-11 15:27:27

Yes, the loss is not in the state selectives but in the comps. In a sense I'm one of those losses (no that it's mattered - best A levels in my school by a long way, separate schoolarship won to university, asked my Head if I could try Oxbridge (no one ever been there before from my school) told as I would be going at 17 I was too young. I imagine had I persisted it would have been possible but I didn't want to take a uyear off for some reason and it hasn't mattered a jot but if you contrast that to other schools you see why some get more pupils in. Although look at my girls - would not bother to apply because it would have meant extra classes at school (not that it seems to have harmed them career wise) although they probably thought they might not get in anyway.

pickledsiblings Sun 10-Jul-11 16:43:19

If the students from Oxford and Cambridge go on to get the best jobs earning the most money, then they are the ones who further down the line will be able to afford the luxury of private education for their offspring. They are also best placed to advise their DC re: following in mummy and daddy's footsteps.

I'd like to see the data for first generation University students and analyse the trends in that.

One noticeable point from the Sutton trust data is that there is not much correlation between average point score and access (although perhaps some between numbers accessing Top 30 and Oxbridge).

ellisbell Sun 10-Jul-11 17:09:19

average point scores can be manipulated in a variety of ways, the commonest probably being by encouraging students to take general studies. It's an easy way to inflate point scores but is irrelevant when applying to most leading universities. The Financial Times leaves it out of their figures.

Oxbridge gives the impression of being for the driven, perhaps the obsessive. Perhaps the state pupils "lost" to the system have decided they would not thrive in that atmosphere.

Fairley the Sutton Trust figures are 3 year averages.

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