More privately-educated pupils win university offers

In an article in the Telegraph, 02/02/13, Graeme Paton reports that more pupils from top private schools are winning places at elite universities despite a Government drive to widen access to higher education, according to research.

More than three-quarters of applications made by pupils from Britain’s best independent schools last year resulted in the offer a place, it emerged. The success rate was up from just over seven-in-10 in each of the previous two years. Some 95 per cent of applications to one Russell Group university – Exeter – led to the award of a place, while numbers were well over 80 per cent at other leading institutions.

The disclosure – in data published by two of the leading private school organisations – comes despite the introduction of tough new targets designed to force top universities to take in more pupils from “under-represented” groups.

Last week, Anthony Seldon, the Master of Wellington College, Berkshire, warned that privately-educated pupils were being "discriminated against at the final hurdle" when they make university applications. But the latest figures suggest that more pupils from Britain’s leading independent schools are actually winning higher education places.

Chris Ramsey, universities spokesman for the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference, said: “No-one should face discrimination on account of school type and this evidence suggests that highly-selective universities are still giving a very high number of offers to our candidates.”

Keith Budge, headmaster of Bedales School, Hampshire, which sent 26 students to Oxbridge in recent years, said: “Universities are interested in attracting pupils with the greatest potential to succeed and most independent schools are taking advantage of the freedoms they have to help their pupils achieve this.”

By Graeme Paton, Education Editor, Telegraph. Click here to read the article © The Telegraph.