Can you break into Oxbridge if you’re from the North? Latest research shows most students are from just FIVE counties in the South


Latest statistics show that students from just five counties in the South of the UK make up around a fifth of all pupils admitted to Oxbridge. The stark data, released by the Government, reveals that the two elite universities – Oxford and Cambridge – are very much dominated by students from the south of the country.

The latest information comes despite efforts and promises to enroll a much more diverse range of pupils. The data shows that 2,720 pupils admitted over three years from England and Wales came from just five local education authority areas – that is 18 per cent from those parts of the country.

Hertfordshire sent the highest number of pupils in the country to the two universities, with a figure of 695. Surrey came next with 570, followed by Kent at 535, then Oxfordshire at 475 and Hampshire with a number of 445. These areas make up around 10 per cent of the England and Wales overall population, but 18 per cent of the Oxbridge population, showing a real disparity.

Students from the North

In stark contrast, over the period looked at – the three academic years from 2012/12 onwards – 12 council areas, mainly in the North of England, only sent 60 students to Oxford and Cambridge. It is understood that reasons for large swathes of the country having only a handful of students at Oxbridge are because of poorer schools, low aspiration and a lack of any history of attending one of the elite universities.

Peter Lampl, the Sutton Trust found, which aims to help children from under privileged backgrounds get better education said that the data showed that the likelihood of getting into a great university was down to where you go to school.

A spokesperson for Oxford said the university was totally committed to increasing the numbers of students who came from disadvantaged backgrounds, while Cambridge said it had launched a number of outreach programmes to work with state schools.