The University of Oxford has received the lowest number of applications from private schools since 2001, The Telegraph reports.
The number of private school pupils applying to the university fell by 6 per cent to 3,855 for the current academic year, the paper reported.
Meanwhile, applications from state school pupils in 2022 hit a record high of 9,965, up 4 per cent on the previous year, according to the university’s annual admissions report release this week.
Since 2010, state school applications to Oxford have risen by almost 29 per cent, while private school applications have fallen by 26 per cent.
These changes come as many leading private schools are encouraging pupils to apply abroad to universities, particularly in the US where there is funding available.
Oxford and and Cambridge have also boosted their outreach and access programmes designed to target state-educated talent, often from deprived backgrounds. Oxford said the first offers were made this year to 35 UK state school students for the “Astrophoria Foundation Year“, a year-long foundation course for UK state school students who have high academic potential but have experienced severe personal disadvantage or a disrupted education.
Since 2017, the success rate for private schools securing an offer from Oxford has fallen from around 29 per cent to 20 per cent.
Private school pupils admitted in 2022 accounted for 31.9 per cent of UK undergraduates, up marginally from 31.8 per cent in the previous year but down from 41.8 per cent in 2017.
In a foreword to the latest admissions report, Prof Irene Tracey, vice-chancellor of Oxford, said: “It is encouraging to see that steady progress continues to be made to ensure that those with the highest academic potential, from all backgrounds, can realise their aspirations to study here – despite admissions continuing to be increasingly competitive.”
A spokesman for the Independent Schools Council said that while applications to Oxford had declined in recent years, independent school applicants to Cambridge had risen.
“There will also be other factors at play here, including small but increasing numbers of students opting to study abroad,” they added.