Imperial College has ranked fifth-worst for state school entrant percentage among UK higher education institutions. Despite 90.3% of students in the UK having come from state schools, just 65.8% of the 2020/21 intake were from this demographic.
Imperial places in front of the Universities of Durham, St Andrews, Edinburgh and Exeter. Durham secures last place on the list, with only 61.6% of its entrants coming from state schools.
Imperial’s 20/21 figure represents just a 0.2 percentage point rise when compared with the 2015/16 year, and a drop of 1.3 percentage points from a peak of 67.1% in the 2018/19 academic year’s intake.
Conversely, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, who came under fire for their low state school intakes in recent years, have both improved considerably. The University of Oxford has jumped from 55.7% in 2015/16 to 68.7% in 2020/21. Cambridge has improved from 61.9% in 2015/16 to 70% in 2020/21.
Entrants for the 2020 intake is likely skewed by the government’s decision to award A level results based on teacher assessments, when exams had not taken place due to Covid regulations. It is largely perceived that this decision benefited students of private schools over state schools. The proportion of A* grades achieved by UK private school pupils in 2019, pre-pandemic, was 16.1%, however this rocketed to 39.5% when teacher assessments decided the grades. Some examples are even more brazen. Students at North London Collegiate School achieved 33.8% of their grades as A*s in 2019, however this soared to an almost unbelievable 90.2% due to teacher assessments.