A quarter of all Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students have a lower second class undergraduate degree, new data published by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has revealed.
For the 2013/14 year, there were 397 first-six pupillages on offer. However, despite a health warning published by the BSB in 2012, alerting potential BPTC students of the challenges of gaining pupillage, 366 students with a 2:2 embarked on the course in 2013, with 100 of those being UK/EU-based.
According to the 2012 Bar Barometer report (the last to provide a detailed breakdown of pupils’ degree classisfications) only 4.1 per cent of pupils that year – just 18 – had a lower second class degree. That year, 155 pupils had a First, 242 has an upper second, and just one possessed a third-class degree.
Of the 11 BPTC providers, the University of Northumbria takes most students with a 2:2 degree. In 2011, 2012 and 2013 it took on 205 students with a 2:2 – well over half its intake.
Northumbria also has the lowest success rate for getting students into pupillage.
The Inns of Court estimate students waste £5m on the BPTC every year.
The BSB has also announced that it is to defer opening the Bar Course Aptitude Test for students starting the BPTC in 2016 until at least March 2016, in order to evaluate of the success of the test since it was introduced in 2013.
Director of Education and Training Dr Simon Thornton-Wood said: “We do not expect our decision to defer the opening of BCAT to have too great an impact on any student starting the BPTC in 2016. In previous years, the majority of students have not attempted the BCAT until at least the spring, and a substantial window of opportunity to take the Test remains.”
13 Apr 15: Bar Council report slams BPTC providers