State schools

Durham Uni among worst for not accepting students from ‘public schools’

THE proportion of public school students at Durham University is one of the lowest of any institution in the UK, according to figures.

In a report released today (22 February), the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) suggested that only 61.6% of students in the 2020/21 student admission to the University of Durham came from a public school – making it one of the lowest among Russell Group Universities.

In the study, Edinburgh (64.5%) and Exeter (65.5%) were the other two UK universities where state school students were at a similar level compared to Durham.

Read more: Durham University is leading a £2.5million project to support BAME students

Despite the numbers not favoring the North East institution, young people entering university nationwide in 2020/21 show that nine in ten (90.2%) have been educated in public schools – a slight increase of 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous year

Throughout the HESA data, the numbers show that the proportion of state-educated students differs significantly by university or college.

At some institutions just over a third of UK students who started full-time undergraduate courses in autumn 2020 came from state schools, while at others all students were educated by the state. ‘State.

Durham University has 61.6% public school students. Pictured: SARAH CALDECOTT.

The lowest attendance rates in state schools are seen at the City and Guilds of London Art School, where 34.2% of pupils attended state schools in 2020/21.

Of this list, nine are Russell Group universities – traditionally the most selective institutions in the UK.

Of the 24 establishments in the Russell Group, nine saw a decline in the number of UK state-trained entrants between 2019/20 and 2020/21, according to the analysis.

The Northern Echo: The Russell Group said universities are trying to attract students from diverse backgrounds, but education agencies have expressed disappointment with some named universities.  Pictured: SARAH CALDECOTT. The Russell Group said universities were trying to attract students from diverse backgrounds, but education agencies expressed disappointment with some named universities. Pictured: SARAH CALDECOTT.

A Russell Group spokesperson said: “Our universities work hard to ensure that all students have the opportunity to access the benefits of excellent higher education in the UK.

“Across the Russell Group, the number and proportion of students admitted to state schools has increased in 2020/21, while the proportion of 18-year-olds from some of the most deprived areas entering English universities of the Russell Group has grown every year for the past seven years. Our members have set ambitious goals to build on this progress.

“It’s equally important that students from all backgrounds are supported to succeed once they arrive at university.

The Echo of the North: Students at Durham.  Pictured: SARAH CALDECOTT.Students at Durham. Pictured: SARAH CALDECOTT.

“The priority our members place on this is reflected in the high levels of continuation rates, progression to professional careers and higher degrees, and future earnings of students attending our universities, including those from the most underrepresented groups. .

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “We are very disappointed to hear that the number of public school students at some of our most selective universities has actually declined.

“There are wider systemic issues that need to be addressed by government in terms of supporting and funding early childhood education to deliver better outcomes for young people from all backgrounds.

Read more: Durham University tries to calm fears over online learning method

“However, it is essential that universities themselves recognize the role they must play in improving access.

“They need to reach out to schools, colleges and communities, take a closer look at their admissions practices, and actively encourage applications from underrepresented groups.”

Durham University has been contacted for comment on the data.

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