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Oxbridge Entry Gap Highlighted

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PRESS ASSOCIATION -- Five schools sent more students to Oxbridge over three years than the bottom 2,000 put together, a new report has revealed.

Westminster School, Eton College, St Paul's School in Barnes, London, and St Paul's Girls School, Hammersmith, which are all private, and Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge, a state school, produced a total of 946 Oxford and Cambridge entrants between 2007 and 2009, according to the Sutton Trust.

In the same period, the bottom 2,000 schools and colleges produced a total of 927 Oxbridge entrants.

The report shows there is a strong link between A-level results and the chances of going to university. However, pupils at some schools with similar exam results had very different rates of pupils going on to higher education.

For example, while two comprehensives in the north of England had almost identical A-level results, one sent 57% of pupils to
selective universities but the other sent just 27%.

Sutton Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said on Friday: "We know these stark inequalities in university progression rates are driven primarily by the exam results in schools, yet the data we are publishing today also reveals that university chances can vary dramatically for schools with similar average grades.

"Our hope is that by making these figures available, the spotlight on schools will widen to encompass the actual destinations of pupils after they have left, alongside their A-level results."

The report said levels of aspiration at the schools as well as interview preparation could account for different success rates. It said: "Such differences cannot be explained by the ability range, but may be influenced by parental backgrounds, geography, curriculum and information, advice and guidance."

Overall, 68.3% of pupils from 2,343 schools and colleges in England were accepted into higher education over the three years.

When it came to the 30 most selective universities, 48.2% of independent school pupils were accepted compared to just 18% of pupils from non selective state schools.