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Only 44% of state school teachers encourage Oxbridge applications

Almost half of secondary school teachers do not encourage gifted students at state schools to consider applying for Oxford or Cambridge, research suggests.

Commissioned by the Sutton Trust, the study questioned 730 state secondary school teachers and found that 44% would encourage bright pupils to apply. This proportion is down 50% from five years ago, and the breakdown showed that 16% always encourage whereas 28% usually do.

The trust recommends that more needs to be done to ‘dispel the myths’ around gaining a place atOxfordorCambridge.

Sir Peter Lampl, the trust’s chairman, said: “It is deeply concerning that the majority of state school teachers are not encouraging their brightest children to apply toOxfordandCambridge.

“The sad consequence of these findings is thatOxfordandCambridgeare missing out on talented students in state schools, who are already under-represented at these institutions based on their academic achievements. We need to do much more to dispel the myths in schools about Oxbridge and other leading universities.”

But Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that pupils needed good careers advice from independent, qualified advisers, not just from their teachers.

Lightman said: “We agree that young people should be made aware of the opportunities available to them, which is why we have been so concerned about the removal of national funding for face-to-face careers guidance by a qualified adviser.

“This should be an entitlement for all students. Applying to Oxbridge is only one of many appropriate routes for our brightest young people. There are many good universities in theUKand other excellent employment-based routes into top careers, all of which are available to high-calibre applicants from all backgrounds. Social mobility is about far more than entry to Oxbridge.”

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