Privilege still rules at Oxford

30th June 2006 at 01:00
It was interesting to read Coralie Young (Friday magazine, June 16) on "the work of dozens of people... who are trying to prove" that Oxford does not discriminate against state schools and that there is no reason why "a bright and determined teenager... can't break down the imagined barriers".

Unfortunately, the figures tell a different story.

In 2005, Oxford accepted 1,290 pupils (46.7 per cent) from private schools, which cater for 8 per cent of the school population. They also offered 279 places (10.1 per cent) to pupils from the remaining 164 grammar schools, but only 809 (29.3 per cent) to the 3,321 "other maintained schools", presumably "comprehensives".

Cambridge was only marginally better; even worse, the figures I have show little change over the last three years.

Even if you include the grammar schools as state schools, the proportion is still, at 39.4 per cent, far less than that of the private sector. These figures reveal a grotesque imbalance which will take more than the efforts of a few well-meaning individuals to rectify.

Tony Mitchell Vice-chair, Socialist Educational Association 51 Falcon Avenue Bedford

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