ISC chairman responds to Oxbridge admissions article

Posted on: 08 Mar 2021
Posted by: Barnaby Lenon

ISC chairman Barnaby Lenon outlines key contextual points that were not referenced in a recent Sunday Times article about independent schools recording a decrease in the number of their pupils being accepted into Oxbridge.

There are a number of facts about Oxbridge entry which are relevant to The Sunday Times article (Private pupils shunned by Oxbridge are being ‘driven overseas’, 28 February).

Because of very high levels of A-level grade inflation caused by the use of centre-assessed grades in 2020, far more students achieved high grades. Most schools, state and independent, have had reduced offers this year because Oxford and Cambridge were forced by that inflation last year to take too many.

Overseas applications have been rising and this has resulted in a reduction in the number of places offered to UK applicants.

What is more, Oxford and Cambridge have not expanded, unlike almost all other universities.

Finally, the London Academy of Excellence is quoted as an example of a state school getting large numbers into Oxbridge, which is true. However, there is no mention that it was set up and is run by independent schools. This illustrates the danger of dividing the world of education into ‘state’ and ‘independent’.