New figures out this week show a stark divide between the destinations of school leavers from public and state schools. 1 in 20 privately-educated pupils went on to study at Oxford or Cambridge in 2011, compared to a meagre 1 in 100 from state schools.
Overall, the number of state-educated students who continued in education or training and got a job was up to 74% from 69% in the previous period. Improvements are being made, but there is still much to be done.
Another key contrast was the difference in students gaining Russell Group university places – 38% of private schools students versus 11% of state school students. Parents are able to access this information.
David Laws, the minister for schools, said “Some students will be aiming to get a job after college, others will be hoping to win a place at a great university. But all schools must ensure they deliver for all their students, whatever that student’s target.”
Professor Les Ebdon, from Fair Access to Higher Education said, “As a whole, the sector has seen sustained improvements in the last decade in the number and rate of disadvantaged young people applying to and entering higher education.” In 2014, the rate of students from disadvantaged backgrounds applying to HE is reportedly at its highest level ever.
But the gap between numbers and rates of advantaged and disadvantaged students going to highly selective universities still remains.