05/07/2013 05:19 BST

Private School Pupils More Likely To Get Good Degrees And Better Jobs

Private school pupils are more likely to get better jobs
Private school pupils are more likely to get better jobs

Private school pupils who started university in 2006 were more likely to graduate and get a decent job than their state-educated peers, according to new research.

Students who were educated at fee-paying schools were also more likely to leave university with at least a 2.1, a new report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) suggests.

The study looks at the degrees and jobs gained by around 225,765 UK students who started university in the autumn of 2006 - the year that tuition fees were raised from £1,000 to around £3,000.

The raw data shows almost nine in 10 (89.1%) of the students who went to fee-paying schools gained a degree, with almost two thirds (64.9%) awarded a first or 2.1.

In comparison, just over eight in 10 (82.4%) of state-educated students left university with a degree, with just over half (52.7%) gaining at least an upper second.

The findings also show that more private school students were employed or studying after graduating, and were more likely to get a better job.

Overall, 76.9% of those who went to private school achieved a degree and then started work or continued studying, compared to 71.5% of state school students.

And around three in five (60.4%) of those educated privately went on to get a graduate level job, compared to just under half (46.8%) of those educated in the state sector.

The report also used "sector-adjusted averages" to look at students' degrees and employment against what was expected of them.

It found that students who went to university after attending a state school got better jobs in general than expected, but did less well than private school pupils in securing a graduate job or going on to further study.

The report classifies students by different measures including sex, disability, ethnicity, qualifications and background to analyse their performance at university.

It found computer science courses had the lowest percentages of students gaining at least a 2.1 and continuing on to employment or further study, while the subject of mass communications and documentation had the lowest percentage of people going on to get graduate jobs or further study.

The subjects of historical and philosophical studies and languages had the highest percentages of students achieving a degree and the biggest proportion gaining a first or 2.1, the report found.

It also reveals that women performed better than men in all of the measures examined - gaining a degree, achieving at least a 2.1, getting a job and gaining a graduate position or continuing to study.

Students who received the disabled students allowance (DSA) performed better than expected, while those who did not get the DSA performed below expectations.

Sarah Howls, head of student opportunity at HEFCE, said: "Seeking to understand and, where we can, address the reasons for these differences remains a key priority. For example, the analysis of disabled students supports the idea that individual funding for these students alongside the investments institutions make to support them is the best way to deliver the best outcomes.

"The challenge is therefore to understand the particular circumstances of those disabled students who do not claim DSA and to devise appropriate means of support for them.

'One caveat is that because the analysis only takes account of certain factors, it cannot account for the impact other factors (such as part-time working, caring responsibilities and so forth) might have on student outcomes.

"Additionally, those types of institution which have done most to widen participation will have the most diverse student bodies, and may consequently have particularly marked differential outcomes."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said: "We are committed to increasing the availability of information which helps students make the right course and university choices for their future careers.

"This is why we established the Key Information Set, which provides extensive information for tens of thousands of courses in the UK, including graduate salaries and employment."