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Monday, 15 May, 2000, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Oxford seeks state school students
Oxford
Former state school pupils are in a minority at Oxford
Oxford University is aiming to recruit half its students from state schools - with the launch of a renewed campaign to attract bright pupils from comprehensives.

In last year's entry, 44.6% of the university's intake was drawn from state schools (compared to 47.4% from private schools), but a plan by seven of the university's colleges to widen access could push the figure into a majority by 2001.

Although places for this autumn's entry have still to be allocated, 47% of applications have come from state schools, suggesting an increase in state school representation.

And next year, the university hopes that even more of today's gifted lower sixth formers will be considering places at Oxford - and pushing the balance closer towards the symbolic 50%.

In particular, the university wants to attract pupils who are expected to get straight grade As at A-level, but who at present do not even apply to Oxford.

'Not acceptable'

A university spokesman said there was "an uphill struggle" to "dispel the myths" surrounding the university's public school image, that at present seemed to deter applications from state school pupils.

Last week, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said that it was "not acceptable" that there were still higher education institutions which drew less than half their students from among state pupils.

Although there are no set targets or deadlines, an Oxford University spokesman said the "ideal" would be for the student intake to reflect the national average, which would see former private school pupils in a small minority.

The seven colleges - Keble, St Hugh's, Hertford, New College, Worcester, Mansfield and Harris Manchester - will seek to broaden their intake, including more mature students and students from further education colleges.

This is part of a wider initiative involving 20 colleges, which are seeking to increase the representation of former state school pupils with summer schools, outreach projects and links with state schools.

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11 Jun 99 | Education
Oxford seeks fairer admissions tests
06 Jul 99 | Whiteboard
Perception and reality
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