More state-school pupils applied to Oxford University this year and more were accepted, according to figures released this week.
But although the gap is narrowing, they remain in the minority at just 43.8 per cent of the intake, against 47.3 from private schools. Last year, the figures were 41.6 per cent and 49.1 per cent. Another 8.9 per cent did not come directly from school or were from overseas, compared with 9.3 per cent last year.
Jane Minto, secretary of the Oxford Colleges Admissions Office, said it showed the university's efforts to broaden the intake appeared to be taking effect.
Cambridge, which is also trying to increase the number of state-school pupils, accepted a smaller proportion this year at 46 per cent, against 47 per cent in 1997.
Other figures released last week reveal that over the past ten years the proportion of students admitted to Oxbridge from independent schools has hardly changed.
Even 20 years ago there was only a slightly higher percentage of privately educated students admitted to Cambridge at 53 per cent. And at Oxford it was 50 per cent, only a percentage point up on the 1997 figure.
To find significantly higher numbers of students from independent schools it is necessary to go back to 1970, when 57 per cent of accepted applicants at Cambridge and 55 per cent at Oxford were privately educated. The figures, released in a parliamentary answer, also show that the number of home students accepted to Oxbridge from grammar schools has been consistently around 13 per cent since 1994 - the only years for which data is available.
This makes the number admitted to Cambridge from independent schools or selective grammar schools a steady 59 per cent, dropping to 58 per cent last year.
At Oxford, the figure is 62 per cent in 1994 and 1995 and 64 per cent in the following two years.
At the London School of Economics, 45 per cent of successful home applicants were from independent or grammar schools last year, up from 42 per cent in 1994.