AN Oxbridge vice-chancellor said the university will be “welcoming others” and told private schools to accept they will get fewer students into Oxford or Cambridge in the future.

Cambridge Professor Stephen Toope told the Times newspaper that over time he wants to reduce the number of pupils coming from independent school backgrounds into places such as Oxford and Cambridge.

He said: “Individual students who are talented, we would want them, but they’re going to be competing against an ever-larger pool because there are more students coming from state schools who are seeing a potential place for themselves at Cambridge or Oxford or other Russell Group universities.”

READ ALSO: Oxford University awarded £11 million by LEGO

Oxford Mail: The Prince of Wales with Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Stephen J. Toope (left). Picture: Daniel Leal PA The Prince of Wales with Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Professor Stephen J. Toope (left). Picture: Daniel Leal PA

Universities minister Michelle Donelan told the paper: “It’s really important that young people with the desire and ability go into higher education, including the very best universities, but that’s only part of the hurdle. It’s about making sure they complete those courses.”

However, Independent Schools Council chairman Barnaby Lenon argues that many pupils at private schools are on means-tested bursaries and that attending private school does not mean the pupil comes from an advantaged background.

READ ALSO: Brownie from Kidlington draws terrible pet portraits in fundraiser

He suggests pupils get into Oxford and Cambridge because of their academic capabilities and not necessarily due to their school.

He said: “School type is not of itself a proxy for background or an indicator of socio-economic advantage or disadvantage.

“Many pupils in state schools come from high-income homes and many pupils attending independent schools receive means-tested bursaries – contextual admissions are only a sensible part of the selection process if they are applied properly.

Oxford Mail: Oxford University. Picture by Ed Nix

“It is a shame that this debate is so often presented as independent vs state. Independent schools actively support state school Oxbridge applicants through partnership projects and our schools are responsible for having set-up some highly successful state schools in terms of Oxbridge success, including the London Academy of Excellence and Harris Westminster.”

READ ALSO: Walls of Abingdon Community Hospital get transformed with new murals

He added: “Taxpayers expect that Oxford and Cambridge would select students based on their academic potential. How they do that is up to them. A proportion of the best students in the UK go to independent schools, very often on large bursaries.

“A large proportion of those state school pupils at Oxford and Cambridge come from grammar schools or state schools in prosperous areas where there is selection by house price. Many come from wealthy homes overseas, but the overseas figures are rarely mentioned.

“Independent schools continue to get their best pupils into Oxford and Cambridge in large numbers because these are pupils with great academic potential. Their degree results at Oxford and Cambridge bear this out.”

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here