Eton College loses HALF its Oxbridge offers as top universities try to boost intake from state schools

  • Oxford and Cambridge universities have reduced Eton intake from 99 to 48
  • The universities have boosted their intake of state school-educated students
  • An Etonian parent said the school has ‘taken its eye off the ball’ with admissions 

Oxford and Cambridge universities have halved the number of offers given to Eton College pupils, it has been revealed.

The universities have offered just 48 places to pupils at the prestigious public school this year, compared to 99 in 2014.

It comes as part of the universities’ attempts to increase the number of state school-educated students admitted on their courses.

A record high proportion of state school students started courses at the University of Cambridge this year, after the world institution increased its intake in the wake of the A-Level results fiasco.

Oxbridge universities have halved the number of offers given to Eton College (pictured) pupils from 99 in 2014 to 48 this year

But parents at £42,500-a-year Eton are said to be ‘shocked’ by the school’s ‘head in the sand’ response to Oxbridge’s diversity drive, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Writing in a letter to parents, the school’s deputy head Tim Hawkins tried to appease disappointed families.

He said: ‘Each year we see very strong Etonian applicants disappointed, and unfortunately there have been more boys in this position this year.

 ‘Whilst the admissions process has some way to run, there are strong results at other leading UK universities.’

Higher education regulator have pressured Oxford and Cambridge to boost the diversity of their undergraduate intake. 

 Cambridge has pledged to reduce the ratio of students from the wealthiest areas of the country compared to poorest from 14 to one to around 6.7 to one by 2025. Pictured: College of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary in Cambridge

State school intake has gone up from 62.3 per cent to 70 per cent at Cambridge and 55.6 per cent to 68.7 per cent at Oxford from 2015 to this year.

More students from the most deprived areas in the UK are now attending Cambridge, increasing from 13 per cent to 14 per cent of the undergraduate cohort.

An Oxford admissions source told The Telegraph an increase in comprehensive students from poorer areas of the country has resulted in ‘a net loss to the posh independent schools in the south-east’.

The source said: ‘It could be that subconsciously, admissions tutors identify Etonians as the definitive top hat privilege and you get lefty dons thinking “oh no, we don’t want more Etonians”.’

One Etonian parent said the school had ‘taken its eye off the ball’ and urged the school to come up with a strategy for ‘the changing times’.

Around 70 per cent of UK undergraduates starting at Cambridge University (pictured) this autumn will have been educated in the state sector, according to its early admissions data

Cambridge has pledged to reduce the ratio of students from the wealthiest areas of the country compared to poorest from 14 to one to around 6.7 to one by 2025.

And Oxford has committed to reducing it from around 15 to one to eight to one by the same year. 

A Cambridge spokesperson said the university admits students ‘of the greatest academic ability and potential, regardless of their social background’.

And Oxford said the admission figures ‘show that our outreach activities are working’.

It comes after last year it was revealed a dozen colleges at Oxford University have accepted five or fewer black undergraduates over the past three years.

The university’s Undergraduate Admissions Report data reveals that the number of black students studying at Oxford has gone up but remains low in some areas.

Data from Oxford University (pictured) revealed that 12 of its colleges have accepted five or fewer black UK students over the past three years

The number of black British students admitted into the university compared to other ethnic backgrounds increased from 18.3 per cent to 22.1 per cent, while 3.2 per cent of students enrolled between 2017 and 2019 had Black African or Black Caribbean heritage.

The university’s vice-chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said: ‘The data presented clearly demonstrates steady progress towards diversifying the make-up of our student body.’ 

‘The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the deep education inequalities in our society. 

‘We are acutely conscious of its differential impact both on our current students and on those considering applying to Oxford.

‘Notwithstanding the major challenge of adapting to the constraints posed by the pandemic we fully intend to continue our progress towards ensuring that every talented, academically driven pupil in the country, wherever they come from, sees Oxford as a place for them.’ 

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