The Oxbridge Pipeline

Westminster

Apparently a very, very small number of the United Kingdom’s secondary schools account for a huge percentage of students that go to Oxford and Cambridge, the country’s top universities.

According to an article by Jack Grove at Times Higher Education:

Westminster School [right], Eton College, St Paul’s School, St Paul’s Girls’ School and Hills Road Sixth Form College, in Cambridge, produced a combined total of 946 Oxbridge entrants from 2007 to 2009, accounting for more than one in 20 of all Oxbridge admissions.

Meanwhile just under 2,000 schools and colleges sent one or no pupils to Oxbridge a year and produced a total of 927 Oxbridge students in the same period.

This information comes from a report recently published by the Sutton Trust. The report acknowledges that students in these five schools, historically among the most exclusive in England, earned, on average, higher test scores than students in the rest of the country.

That being said, it was also true that some high schools that performed just as well as the five major schools still had Oxford and Cambridge entrance rates that were much lower. Apparently two secondary schools with virtually identical test results had very different outcomes. One school sent 65 per cent of students to the top universities. The other sent only 28 percent.

Note that this report was not about admissions rates, it only measured actual attendance; the trend is only likely to get worse since Parliament decided in December to drastically increase the amount that students and families have to pay out of pocket for higher education.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer