Revealed: grammar school students have best chance at Oxford law degree

Grammar school students are twice as likely to be accepted to the University of Oxford’s law faculty than those from comprehensive schools, research by Lawyer 2B has shown.

For the 2012 year of entry, 121 grammar school students applied to read law at Oxford, representing 10 per cent of total applications. Of these applications, 34 were accepted, comprising 18 per cent of total acceptances and meaning that 28 per cent of grammar school students who applied to read law at the university were successful.

For the same year, 205 comprehensive students applied, 17 per cent of the total applicants. Of those 205, 31 were accepted, making up 16.5 per cent of total acceptances. This translates to 15 per cent of offers from comprehensive students being accepted.

Students from independent schools applying for 2012 entry comprised 18.7 per cent of applications (226 of 1,209). The same group made up 26 per cent of acceptances (49 of 188). This means that 21.7 per cent of independent school students who applied to read law at Oxford were accepted.

Students from international schools who applied for the same year represented 14 per cent of applications (169 of 1,209) and 11.7 per cent of acceptance (22 of 188). Of this group, 13 per cent were successful.

A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said: “These numbers are relatively small so it is difficult to draw reliable conclusions from them, but this does not appear to be a case of comprehensive school applicants to study jurisprudence at Oxford faring badly. Indeed, the success rate for all applicants for jurisprudence in 2012 was 15.6%, only slightly higher than the 15.1% success rates for applicants from comprehensive schools.

”An applicant’s success is determined by their GCSE grades, their LNAT results, their personal statement, teacher’s reference and their performance in at least two interviews. It is performance in these criteria that determines an applicant’s chances of getting into Oxford, not their school background. We encourage all students with the required grades to apply to Oxford, no matter what school they attend.”

In 2012, there were 164 grammar schools in the UK and 5 per cent of children attended one. In the same year, there were 2,420 independent schools in the UK and 7 per cent of children were enrolled at an independent school.

In 2011, 4.9 per cent of children attended a grammar and 7.1 per cent of children went to an independent school. In 2010, 4.8 per cent of children were enrolled at a grammar school while 7.1 per cent attended an independent school.

The information presented on the University of Oxford does not account from students coming from a sixthform college or a further education institution. In addition, some students’ origin was not known by the university.

2011 entry Number of applications Percentage of total applicants Number of acceptances Percentage of total acceptances Percentage of applicants accepted
Grammar 137 10.90% 40 19.50% 29.20%
Comprehensive 216 17.20% 38 18.50% 17.60%
Independent 234 18.60% 49 23.90% 20.94%
Overseas 177 14.10% 27 13.20% 15.25%
Total applicants 1259        
 2010 entry Number of applications Percentage of total applicants Number of acceptances Percentage of total acceptances Percentage of applicants accepted
Grammar 150 12.60% 33 17.00% 22.00%
Comprehensive 237 19.90% 28 14.40% 11.80%
Independent 225 18.90% 55 28.40% 24.40%
Overseas 173 14.50% 39 20.10% 22.50%
Total applicants 1192