Oxford has lowest number of state-educated undergrads, says social mobility survey

The University of Oxford has the lowest proportion of state school students among Russell Group and Oxbridge universities, an investigation by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has found.

The study, which is the first of its kind, was commissioned by the social mobility tsar Alan Milburn. It found that in 2011/12, just 57.7 per cent of undergraduate entrants at Oxford came from a state school background. 

The Guardian University Guide 2014 ranks Oxford as the second best place in the country to study law, behind University College London, where 64.7 per cent of the first year undergraduate population came from a state school.

The University of Cambridge came in second behind Oxford with 57.9 per cent of undergraduates arriving from a state school system.

The statistics are detailed in a government-commissioned report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, named Higher Education: the Fair Access Challenge.

Both the University of Durham and the University of Bristol were among the leading education facilities where more than a third of the intake were privately educated. The report found that at Durham 59.2 per cent of undergraduate first-years were state educated, compared with Bristol’s 59.9 per cent.

All of the universities listed were found to have increased the number of state school admissions over the past decade with the exception of Durham and Bristol.

In 2002, state school undergraduates made up 68.4 per cent of total admissions at Durham compared with 63.8 per cent at Bristol.

Overall, however, state school admissions across Oxbridge and the Russell Group decreased by one per cent, from 75.6 per cent in 2002 to 74.6 per cent in 2011 over the same ten-year period. The government-set benchmark is 78.3 per cent.

Among the best performers in terms of first-year undergraduates whom attended state school, were the universities of Glasgow, 87.8 per cent, and Liverpool, 87.6 per cent, although the biggest proportion of state school first-year undergraduates was at Queen’s Belfast, where 97.6 per cent of entrants attended a state school.

Glasgow is ranked 13th for law while Liverpool is 46th and Queen’s Belfast is ranked 8th.