Students from private schools still significantly outnumber state school entrants at Oxford University, but the elite institution expects to redress the imbalance following the abolition of its "intimidating" entrance exam.
For the 1996 entry year 47 per cent of accepted applicants came from independent schools, compared with only 44 per cent from the maintained school sector. Applicants from state schools had a lower success rate. Of 3,786 who applied from independent schools, 1,612 students joined the university - a success rate of 42.6 per cent. Of the 4,235 who applied from maintained schools, only 1,480 students joined - a much lower success rate of 34.9 per cent.
The latest statistics come two weeks after Cambridge University boasted that its maintained school entrants comprehensively outnumbered independent school entrants for the first time, following its Target Schools scheme. But 1996 was the last entry year at Oxford to include recruitment through the entrance exam as well as through conditional A-level results. Oxford now expects to increase its intake from state schools.