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State School Teachers Wrong To Think Oxbridge Too Elitist For Their Pupils
A recent survey shows that two thirds of state school teachers believe that less than 30% of students at Oxbridge came from state schools.
They also believe that those two universities are too elitist.
But they're wrong on both counts.
Well, most of them.
One teacher in 14 thought - correctly - that the majority of students at Oxford and Cambridge came from state schools.
In fact, almost 60% of Oxbridge students came from state schools, even though the number of teachers advising gifted pupils of apply to Oxbridge has fallen from 50% five years ago to 44% today.
The study was carried out by the Sutton Trust, a charity promoting social mobility, which surveyed 730 secondary state school teachers as part of its research.
Chairman Sir Peter Lampi says: “It is deeply concerning that the majority of state school teachers are not encouraging their brightest children to apply to Oxford and Cambridge.
“The sad consequence of these findings is that Oxford and Cambridge are missing out on talented students in state schools – who are already under-represented at these institutions based on their academic achievements.
“We need to do much more to dispel the myths in schools about Oxbridge and other leading universities.”
This explains the view of the Russell Group, which represents 24 leading universities - including Oxford and Cambridge - that so few well-qualified students from state schools applying to Oxbridge make admissions targets hard to meet.
It may, on the other hand, have a great deal to do with the increased number of students deciding that in this economic climate, university isn't for them - at least for the time being.
Instead, many are opting for an apprenticeship, which would give them a head start in terms of work experience and job training - as well as a wage packet instead of a mountain of student debt afterwards.
That's despite last year's warning from Nick Clegg that top universities had a duty to ensure their admission policies better reflect British society, in order to justify state funding.
But until more state school teachers start pushing more of their students back towards Oxbridge once again it's unlikely to happen.