In response to research by Cambridge Assessment, Prof Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research, Buckingham University (who undertook detailed research into the HEFCE paper) said:
“The most important thing to understand is that overall, independently educated pupils enter university with better qualifications and do better than state school pupils.
“This is clearly the case based on the findings of the biggest and most authoritative study to be carried out so far, by HEFCE, which looked at the whole university intake. This new research focuses yet again on a small percentage of students, is less comprehensive and has produced results which are a sideshow and miss the real point.”
Chris Ramsey, HMC/GSA Universities spokesperson and Headmaster of King’s School, Chester said:
"This study tells us that, unsurprisingly, A*s generally lead to good degrees. School heads already know that prior attainment is the key to later success.
“In the real world more independent school pupils get A*s in the first place, and overall get better degrees. Previous, more thorough research shows it is wrong to conclude that more than a tiny number – around 1% - of state school pupils entering at the same level will do better at university.”