According to entry figures from 2017-18, St Andrews has the highest density of privately-educated students in Scotland and the second highest in the UK.
Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal that Oxford University has the lowest proportion of state-educated students with only 58 per cent, St Andrews following closely with 60 per cent of young first-degree entrants coming from state schools.
The figures show that Cambridge University accepted 2 per cent more state-educated students than St Andrews in 2017-18. This makes St Andrews’ student body the second most independently-educated out of all mainstream higher education institutes in the UK.
According to statistics released by the Independent Schools Council, more than 500,000 children were educated by independent schools in the UK, a new high since records began in 1974. Out of these pupils, 91 per cent went on to higher education, 5 per cent being accepted into Oxbridge.
Furthermore, the HESA report proves that St Andrews has the highest density of privately-educated students in Scotland, with two in five students coming from independent schools.
Compared to St Andrews, the University of Edinburgh’s intake of state-educated students is 6 per cent higher and the University of Dundee’s proportion of state school students esteems St Andrews’s by 30 per cent.
In Scotland, the number of state school students accepted into higher education has risen from 22,035 (2016-17) to 22,375 (2017-18). Despite this increase, Scotland still falls behind the percentage of state-educated students in England, accepting one per cent less in the last academic year.
Notwithstanding Scotland’s rise in state-educated university students, St Andrews’ proportion of these students has decreased by four per cent since 2016-17.
Figures have also shown that the University was the most densely populated with privately-educated students in Scotland in 2015-16 as well as 2016-17. St Andrews will continue to have the lowest proportion of state school students for the third academic year in a row.
Lowest proportion of state school students in UK mainstream universities (2017-18)
- Oxford: 58.2%
2. St Andrews: 60.4%
3. Cambridge: 62.6%
4. Durham: 62.9%
5. Imperial: 63.9%
Lowest proportion of state school students in Scottish mainstream universities (2017-18)
- St Andrews: 60.4%
2. Edinburgh: 66.2%
3. Glasgow: 84.3%
4. Aberdeen: 85.2%
5. Strathclyde: 89.9%
In response to these figures, a University spokesperson said: “We made more offers to applicants from state schools than ever before, but the number of state school pupils who accepted our offers fell by one per cent while acceptances by independent school applicants rose by seven per cent.
“By themselves, these figures give a very narrow and misleading view of St Andrews’ considerable progress in widening access to higher education. We don’t recruit on the basis of whether an applicant comes from a state or independent school, we look for academic potential, no matter their school type.
“Thanks to that approach, this year 49 per cent of our first-year Scottish students had one or more widening access markers – either a background in care, they came from a low progression school, were in receipt of free school meals or live in an area of multiple deprivations.
“Most importantly, we are firmly on course to meet the Scottish Government’s highly challenging targets to widen access to higher education.”