Private school pupils are almost one and a half times more likely to graduate from an elite university than those that attend state schools, and require lower grades to do so, research into education trends has found.
Academics found 31% of private school pupils graduated from an elite institution, compared with just 5% from comprehensives and 13% from state grammar schools.
They also discovered that private school pupils with worse A-level grades were two and half times more likely to attend and graduate from the very top Russell Group universities.
Researchers at the Institute of Education and the University of Manchester used data from a national study following thousands of people born in 1970.
The report said: “Attending a private school is powerfully predictive of gaining a university degree, and especially a degree from an elite institution.”
The research also found that over half of private school pupils had at least one graduate parent, compared with just 14% from comprehensives.
However, the report’s authors concede the findings only prove trends for those born in 1970 – who will have graduated from university in the late 1980s.
Nonetheless, the report will add fuel to the debate around access to Britain’s most prestigious universities, much maligned for a lack of transparency in their recruitment processes.
Professor Alice Sullivan said: “It is, of course, sometimes argued that elite universities are dominated by the privately educated because there is a deep pool of talent in independent schools and not enough talent in state schools, but this view was not supported by our analysis.”