The number of private school pupils is on the increase at seven out of the top ten universities in the UK, according to new research from the University of Exeter. Oxford was one of three where their number has declined.

Of the ‘traditional’ subjects such as engineering, sciences and languages, 24% of private school students go on to study these at university, while only 17% of state schoolers make this choice.

These results will dishearten ministers who have pumped money into education to attempt to close the gap.

Not all was doom and gloom, however, as Oxford, Exeter and UCL all recorded an increase in state school students. Numbers have been rising since 2003/4, but Chloe Wildman, an Oxford student who went to state school pointed out “by studying more diverse subjects more students might stay in education, even if they didn’t go to a top ten university, which is a positive result.”