Private students still fare best

February 25, 2000

Private school students are still more likely to be offered a place at Oxford University than their state school counterparts, despite a significant increase in the number of applications from the state sector.

Although applications from state schools for entry later this year increased by 2.5 per cent and now outnumber applications from private schools, the private school applicants are still more likely to be offered places. Some 44.5 per cent of Oxford's 3,474 private school applicants have been given offers to join the ancient university in September 2000, compared with just 40 per cent of the 4,378 state school hopefuls.

Jane Minto, secretary of Oxford's admissions office, said the discrepancies in success rates were likely to be a result of "subject orientation", with some subjects offered by Oxford, such as classics, dominated by private school applicants.

"The principal driver at Oxford is to encourage state school students to apply," she said. "But while we are keen to encourage more young people from state schools to apply, we are keen not simply to increase the number of applications from people who will not be successful."

Applications from other students, largely mature students, increased from 1,440 last year to 1,488 this year and more were successful in gaining a place.

Women made up 50.1 per cent of applicants and 49.5 per cent of those offered places.

Magnificent seven: more than 100 students turned out to support the Sussex Seven, a group of anti-tuition fees protesters from Sussex University, who face a disciplinary panel next week. They protested at a formal dinner last year and stopped Cherie Booth QC from speaking. They have been charged with bringing the university into disrepute. Possible punishments range from a fine to expulsion

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