Four schools and one college sent more students to Oxbridge over three years than 2,000 schools and colleges across the UK, reveals the latest report on university admissions by individual schools by the Sutton Trust.

Between them, Westminster School, Eton College, Hills Road Sixth Form College, St Pauls School and St Pauls Girls School produced 946 Oxbridge entrants over the period 2007-09 – accounting for over one in 20 of all Oxbridge admissions. Meanwhile just under 2000 schools and colleges with less than one Oxbridge entrant a year produced a total of 927 Oxbridge entrants.

These figures are driven primarily by stark gaps in the A-level results of the schools and colleges, but the study also reveals different progression rates to highly selective universities for schools with similar average examination results.

The report accompanies the first ever publication of figures detailing the higher education destinations of pupils from individual schools with sixth forms and colleges in England.

The aim of the tables is to provide an alternative way of measuring the impact of schools, in terms of what happens to young people after they have left, alongside the examination results that are currently published.

For each school and college with available data, the tables include the proportion of sixth form students over three years 2007-09 who go on to Higher Education in general, and the proportion accepted at highly selective universities in particular. They will also include the latest figures for average attainment at each school.

The analysis of 750,000 destinations from 2,343 secondary schools shows a strong link between the average results of A-levels and equivalent exams at a school or college and the chances of going to university; however, the tables also reveal large differences in university progression rates for some schools with similar examination results, particularly when considering entry to highly selective universities.

For example :at two grammar schools with almost identical A-level results, one recorded an average of 65% of students going to the 30 top-performing universities while the other managed only 28%. At two low-scoring comprehensives, again with near identical Ucas tariff scores, almost 70% of 18-year-olds applied to higher education at one, only 33% in the other. Cockermouth School in Cumbria is congratulated in the report for punching above its weight in securing places at top universities for 37% of those who applied including nine at Oxbridge over the three years.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “We know these stark inequalities in university progression rates are driven primarily by the exam results in schools, yet the data we are publishing today also reveals that university chances can vary dramatically for schools with similar average grades. Our hope is that by making these figures available, the spotlight on schools will widen to encompass the actual destinations of pupils after they have left, alongside their A-level results.”

Notes for Editors

Degrees of Success, University Chances by Individual School, is available on the Sutton Trust’s website. The figures are based on official data produced by the Department for Education, UCAS and Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

 For an interactive version of the Degrees of Success report, 8th July 2011, please click here

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