A study by the Sutton Trust revealed that eight elite schools admit more pupils to Oxbridge than over 2900 other schools combined.
The report revealed that the group of eight schools, which includes top schools such as Westminster, Eton, and St Paul’s Girl’s School, collectively sent 1310 students to either Oxford or Cambridge between 2015 and 2017, while 2900 other English schools sent a combined 1220 students to the universities in the same period.
Based on published admission statistics, Cherwell understands that just two of the eight are state schools: Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge and Peter Symonds College in Winchester.
The Trust’s study also highlighted geographical disparities between regions, with areas such as Rochdale, Salford and Southampton sending just two or fewer state school pupils between 2015 and 2017.
Founder of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, said: “If we are to ensure that all young people, regardless of their background, have a fair chance of getting in to our top universities, we need to address the patchwork of higher education guidance and support.
“All young people, regardless of what area they grow up in, or what school they go to, should have access to high quality personal guidance that allows them to make the best informed choices about their future.
“The admissions process also needs to change. We have made the case for giving poorer students a break through contextual admissions, but we also need universities to make it clear what grades these students need to access courses.”
The charity recommended that universities should publicise their criteria for contextual admissions more widely, and explain clearly how they can affect an application. The report suggested implementing an “easy-to-use lookup tool on university websites” which would allow “candidates to enter their details and find out whether they qualify”.
They also suggested that universities introduce a “geographic” element to be included in university access agreements, focusing on “peripheral areas”.
Cherwell has contacted Oxford University staff for comment.