Hundreds of schools send no pupils to top universities, new figures reveal

27th January 2015 at 17:00

Hundreds of schools and colleges in England are not sending any of their pupils to the UK‘s top universities, new figures suggest.

More than 1,600 institutions do not have any sixth-formers going on to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE).

The figures, for 2012/13, show the destinations of pupils at every state and fee-paying school and college in England. They show that teenagers are considerably more likely to go on to a leading university if they have been educated at a private school.

However, the analysis suggests that the vast majority of schools and colleges teaching 16- to 18-year-olds saw at least some of their students go on to higher education. At almost 100 schools and colleges, at least 80 per cent of students won a university place.

But the data also suggest that around 185 did not have any pupils go on to a ‘top-third’ university, those asking for the highest entry grades. Around 335 had no students go to a Russell Group university, which are considered as being among the best in the country.

According to a separate analysis by the DfE, just under two-thirds of state schools and colleges (63 per cent) had no sixth-formers go on to attend Oxbridge, while 13 per cent of those in the state sector had no students going to Russell Group universities.

Overall, around seven in 10 state-educated young people were in education, employment or training the year after taking their A-levels or equivalent qualifications. 

The figures also show that just under half of students from state-funded schools and colleges went to university, down from 53 per cent the year before.

Schools minister David Laws said the data showed many examples of schools, including those in deprived areas, that are ensuring their pupils are moving on to “meaningful destinations”.

"The figures are hugely satisfying, with thousands more pupils going on to further education, training or employment, showing the significant progress this coalition government has made in building a fairer society,” he said.

“At the same time there are some schools which could be doing more to make sure all their pupils can get on in life, and today's data will be extremely valuable in helping hold those school leaders to account.”

Related stories


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today