…not on the top spot in the league tables, but on bright students.
Cambridge is missing out on bright state school pupils because teachers don’t think their students can achieve places.
According to a survey carried out by the Sutton Trust, only 44% of state school teachers would encourage their brightest students to apply to Oxford or Cambridge. The numbers are falling, research suggests, as this is down from 50% just five years ago.
It seems that the ‘myths’ of elitism that surround Oxbridge have played a part in this shocking statistic. The survey has also revealed that many state school teachers wildly underestimate the proportion of pupils from state schools at Oxford and Cambridge.
Even though in reality 57% of UK students admitted to Oxbridge are from state schools, just 7% of the teachers guessed that over half of the UK students at Oxbridge were from the state sector.
Sir Peter Lampl, the chairman of the Sutton Trust, was concerned about the consequences of these results for pupils and universities alike: “The sad consequence of these findings is that Oxford and Cambridge are missing out on talented students in state schools.”
He stated that in order to change the situation, “We need to do much more to dispel the myths in schools about Oxbridge and other leading universities.”
Under immense pressure to up the Oxbridge intake of state school pupils, the results of the survey may lead to a change in approach. Queens’ Access Officer, Zoe Wilson, commented that the perceptions held by teachers are a great shame and has “no doubt that their false beliefs rub off on their pupils and discourage many from applying here.”
She believes that “visiting schools and talking to sixth-formers is one of the best ways to change misconceptions about Cambridge University and life as a student here” and hopes that the University will encourage more outreach projects.