Sean Coughlan cites Sutton Trust research and features Sutton Trust founder, Sir Peter Lampl’s comment in an article for the BBC.
University of Oxford is promising a “sea-change” in admissions, with plans for a quarter of students to come from disadvantaged backgrounds by 2023.
The university wants to tackle accusations that it is socially exclusive.
Oxford will soon announce that 60.5% of its most recent intake are from state schools – the highest since the 1970s.
But vice-chancellor Louise Richardson says she wants to “accelerate the pace at which we are diversifying”.
Oxford, along with other top universities, has faced claims of perpetuating privilege – with too many privately-educated students and not enough from poorer backgrounds.
The Sutton Trust social mobility charity showed recently that Oxford and Cambridge recruit more students from eight, mostly-private schools than almost 3,000 other UK state schools put together.
Labour MP David Lammy has lambasted the university for admitting too few black students.
The university wants to send a strong signal that it remains very competitive to get a place – but that should be about ability rather than background.
Prof Richardson says she wants to ensure that “every academically exceptional student in the country knows that they have a fair chance of a place at Oxford”.
She is being supported by the head of the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl, who described the scale of Oxford’s target as “really impressive”.