State school pupils were less likely to be accepted into Oxford University in 2015 than they were five years ago, new figures reveal.
Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 55.7% of Oxford’s 2015/16 intake were from state schools, compared to 57.7% in 2010.
This comes as other UK universities have a smaller privately educated intake over the same period, meaning Oxford has the smallest proportion of pupils from state schools in mainstream universities.
In contrast, figures show that the proportion of students accepted from state schools at Cambridge rose from 54% to 62% in the last decade. Cambridge now has more state educated pupils than Bristol, Durham and St Andrews.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, an educational charity promoting social mobility, said the figures provide “further worrying evidence of the substantial access gaps that still exist at our universities, especially at our top universities.”
Universities minister Jo Johnson said the statistics show that “there is more to do at some universities, where there are still too few students progressing from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Dr Samina Khan, Oxford University’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach, insisted that the university was working to increase its intake from under-represented backgrounds.
“We are constantly working to increase our intake of students with academic potential from under-represented backgrounds,” Dr Khan said.
“Figures released last month by UCAS show that our offer rates for students from low-participation areas are outperforming the rates that would be expected given predicted grades and subject choice.”
“Having made more than 59% of our offers to state-educated applicants for 2016 entry, we are also expecting to retain this increase in 2017. However, we are aware that there is still progress to be made, and we will continue to work hard to encourage more successful applications from under-represented groups.”
The figures on a national level show the highest level of state educated pupils studying at universities, with 89.9% of young, full-time undergraduates coming from state schools, up from 88.9% five years ago.