The number of Oxbridge graduates teaching in state schools has doubled in the past decade, according to new research, but independent school teachers are three times more likely to hold an Oxbridge degree.
The Teaching by Degrees report, issued by the Sutton Trust, found that the number of Oxford or Cambridge graduates teaching in state schools had risen from 5,000 to just under 11,000 since 2003.
Despite the encouraging figures, the research showed that approximately 5 per cent of state secondary school teachers with subject degrees received these from either Oxford or Cambridge, while in the independent sector, the figure was closer to 17 per cent.
It also found that secondary independent school teachers are more likely to have a postgraduate degree related to the subject they teach and that nearly one in 15 teachers in private schools holds a PhD, compared with one in 40 in state institutions.
“Although today’s figures show that there has been progress over the past few years, with better qualified teachers and more from Oxbridge, it’s vital that we do more to ensure that pupils from low- and middle-income backgrounds are just as likely to access the best teachers as their more advantaged peers,” said Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation.
To address the disparity in qualifications between teachers in the state and private sectors, the report recommends that graduates from the most selective universities should be given more incentives to teach in state schools.
It also says that additional effort is needed to ensure that state school teachers have qualifications in the subjects they are teaching and that further investment should be given to open access policies, which offer “needs blind” admission to independent schools.
Finally, the report calls for increased research into why careers in independent, rather than state, schools are so attractive to graduates from the UK’s most prestigious universities.