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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:10 pm 
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I have been thinking about this issue for a while and have performed what i think is a fairer analysis of admission statistics which shows that state schools both comps and grammars are not doing as badly as projected in the media :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1563626/100-schools-dominate-Oxbridge-admissions.html

An often quoted statistic is that private schools contain only about 7% of pupils in the country but get 45-50% of oxbridge places which on the face of it seems quite damning. However you cannot fairly compare the academic potential of students in comprehensives (the majority of state schools) with independant schools. So i have come up with analysis which i think is fairer although i would of course value comments:

Ok if we start with all pupils in the country in any year : 800,000

of which 7% in private schools 56000

and 3.5% in grammar schools 29000

and 89.5% in non selective state school 716120

Now if we try to work out where the top 10% of able pupils go to school we can then use these figures to fairly compare the different schools

grammar schools take mostly children from the top 25% and a few (super selectives) take children form the top 10% or so, so i reckon about half of the children at grammar schools are in the top 10% = 14500

independant school this is a litle more difficult to work out but i suspect for all independants taking into account that there are top (super selective ones) which i think compensate for the less selective ones it is overall similar to the grammar schools ie 50% of children at independant schools are in the top 10% of all children = 28000

there are 10% of 800,000 children ie 80,000 at all schools so this leaves 80,000-14500-28000 children at non selective state schools = 37500

so now if we compare where the top 10% of students go to school =

non selective state schools = 37500/80000 = 47%

grammar schools = 14500/80,000 =18%

independant schools = 28000/80000 = 35%

so if we then assume that oxbridge takes its students mainly from this top 10% if everything else was equal then the ratios for admission to oxbridge should be 47:18:35, (state,grammar,private) the latest stats however show 40:15:45 or if we compare state to private 65:35 (statistically) and 55:45 actually which is alot better than 93:7 suggested by the media.

So the situation is alot closer than those quoted in the media and relates to about 10% of children (ie about 600) who get places at oxbridge from private schools who should statistically get places from state schools. So for every 10 oxbridge admissions 1 has had a private school advantage. However if you then take into consideration that some subjects at oxbridge are really only studied at private schools eg classics/ancient greek etc (about 300 per year i think from some research of courses on line) then the figures are really not so bad for state schools.

any comments welcome


Last edited by Tree on Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:37 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:42 pm 
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you are right loopyloulou the indies are doing better and getting statistically more people to oxbridge (as they should due to the resources you mention) but not to the extent suggested by the 93:7 vs 55:45 ratio often quoted in the media i agree it is difficult to quantify the proportion of the top 10% at indies and maybe 50% is to high but i supspect the classics,ancient greek argument ofsets this difference and the 1 in 10 figure is about right.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:00 pm 
Agree that your estimate that half of private school pupils are in the top 10% of the ability range is very wide of the mark. There are comparatively few private schools that are more selective than state grammars and a huge number that are non-selective or "select" only to the extent of weeding out applicants with certain learning difficulties. Some, of course, specialise in helping with specific learning difficulties and are selected by parents for that very reason.

Truth be told, however, that is of limited relevance as Oxbridge are not looking for the top 10% (i.e. about 70,000 new students a year!); they are looking for something well beyond that. If you look at which private schools are sending students to Oxbridge you will see that a small number of top schools are supplying a large proportion of successful candidates. Those schools are as selective as top grammars but they educate only a tiny fraction of all pupils. There is no question that pupils at those schools have, statistically, a better chance of getting to Oxbridge than they would have if they attended a state school.

I have experience of both private and grammar schools and one BIG difference is in funding. For example, private day fees in our area are approximately 5 times the amount the state grammars receive per pupil. This has an impact not only on class sizes and resources but also, I'm afraid, on staffing. So, I suspect, does the freedom to depart from the national curriculum. That is not to say that there aren't some first-rate teachers in the state sector, but there are also some who aren't that good. Supply and unqualified cover staff are also a big feature at some state schools; they are practically unheard of at the best private schools.

Top independent school heads also actively manage their Oxbridge applications (strategically spreading applicants around the colleges, using their contacts and "insider knowledge" etc). Teachers also have huge experience in helping pupils with their personal statements, interview technique and so on. Plus, the curriculum is geared towards Oxbridge admission not league tables. The schools know that 10 A*s in a solid range of subjects is probably better for the applicant than, say, 8A*s and 6As, even though the latter would score more points for the school in a league table.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 9:37 pm 
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Hi kent99 thanks for you input, I have chosen 10% as a way of comparing the different types of school fairly my whole point is that the inherent academic makeup of state vs independent is not the same and can't be compared directly, but in order to make the maths easier i chose the top 10% to demonstrate that these gifted 10% are not distributed between the school types in the same ratio as the whole population. The assumption is that oxbridge will select their admissions (about 1 in 12 from this top 10%) mainly from this top 10% so it is just a fairer way to compare the schools.

I disagree that the figure of half of all private schools is so far off the mark so in order to try to justify this i have been looking (online) at a random selection of around 50 private schools and looked at their admissions procedures and it breaks down to about 20% being highly slective at 11 and 13 certainly more selective that the average grammar school more like super selective schools and i think probably ending up with mainly pupils in the top 10-15% these are the kings/magdalen/westminster/headington and most of the gdst schools (so about 90-100% of these children will be in the top 10% academically) there are then about 20% at the other end of the spectrum who have minimal if no academic selection and some although it is a few in my sample who specialise in sen etc (so containing maybe 5-10% of the top 10%) leaving the middle 60% being selective i think along the lines or maybe slightly less selective than the grammar schools (ie containing mostly children in the top 30 ish % and so containing around 30% of chldren in the top 10% ) so in total for independents =(100% of 20% =20%) + (30% of 60% = 18%) + (10% of 20% =2%) giving around 40% of all children at independents being in the top 10%. So it may be more like 40% but even if it were 30% of private school children who are in the top 10% rather than 50% it makes little difference to the figures particularly when you consider the ancient greek argument.

Quote:
I have experience of both private and grammar schools and one BIG difference is in funding. For example, private day fees in our area are approximately 5 times the amount the state grammars receive per pupil. This has an impact not only on class sizes and resources but also, I'm afraid, on staffing. So, I suspect, does the freedom to depart from the national curriculum. That is not to say that there aren't some first-rate teachers in the state sector, but there are also some who aren't that good. Supply and unqualified cover staff are also a big feature at some state schools; they are practically unheard of at the best private schools.

Top independent school heads also actively manage their Oxbridge applications (strategically spreading applicants around the colleges, using their contacts and "insider knowledge" etc). Teachers also have huge experience in helping pupils with their personal statements, interview technique and so on. Plus, the curriculum is geared towards Oxbridge admission not league tables. The schools know that 10 A*s in a solid range of subjects is probably better for the applicant than, say, 8A*s and 6As, even though the latter would score more points for the school in a league table.
Agree that your estimate that half of private school pupils are in the top 10% of the ability range is very wide of the mark. There are comparatively few private schools that are more selective than state grammars and a huge number that are non-selective or "select" only to the extent of weeding out applicants with certain learning difficulties. Some, of course, specialise in helping with specific learning difficulties and are selected by parents for that very reason.

.



I agree with all this but if my figures are correct or even close to being correct then an advantage of 1 in 10 or even 1 in 7 (if you assume 40% and no greek factor) doesn't seem that much when you consider the advantages you mention


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 10:33 pm 
If you looked at the admissions procedures for the private schools around here they would probably look as selective as the grammars. With a couple of exceptions, they aren't. In fact the majority of their pupils are likely to have failed the 11+ or been deemed as non-starters. I have been to an open days at one school where it was stressed that fewer than half their pupils would have passed the 11+. This school is perceived local as one of the "academic" ones.

I believe that the majority of parents who send their children to private schools do so because they want better facilities and teaching for their children and can afford to pay for it. As a group their defining characteristic is willingness and ability to pay. That is the market which private schools service. Within that overall market there will be more and less selective schools but between them they take pretty much the whole group. Few parents who want and can afford private education are unable to find ANY private school to take their child. Unless, therefore, half those parents just happen to have children in the top 10% of the ability range, private schools won't have that percentage either.

And when you look at schools where about half of all leavers go to Oxbridge (with others going to Ivy League schools, medical school, Imperial etc) do you really believe that over half their intake are in the fraction of a percent with that special ability AND enthusiasm for their subject that such places are seeking? And that they were able to identify this at 11 or 13?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 13, 2010 10:15 am 
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Hi Kent99

Quote:
Within that overall market there will be more and less selective schools but between them they take pretty much the whole group


If by this you are suggesting that they take a similar spectrum of academic potential to the non - selective state schools then you will have to provide some much harder evidence before i accept this, i suspect it is gonna be difficult to get hard figures for the percentage of private school intake that contain the top 10% ability but i think my analysis holds up and that the figure probably lies somewhere between 30-50%.

The main point i wanted to make was that when the media quotes that 7% of children attend private schools but 45% of admissions to oxbridge are from private schools this is wholly unfair and i think I have given robust evidence for this, I think however much the selective nature of private schools is played down the result will be a long way from 7:93 for the top performing kids.

Quote:
And when you look at schools where about half of all leavers go to Oxbridge (with others going to Ivy League schools, medical school, Imperial etc) do you really believe that over half their intake are in the fraction of a percent with that special ability AND enthusiasm for their subject that such places are seeking? And that they were able to identify this at 11 or 13?


This is an interesting point but probably getting a bit off topic but if you assume that somewhere between 1 in 10 or 1 in 7 admissions to oxbridge are due to a private school advantage, i supect that this additional advantage is not spread over all the private schools but is collected at the top end and especially at these few schools who get 40-50% (i think there are only 3 or 4 with this level) and is partly due to the selection for these schools and partly due to support and all the things you mention, however as i said before this wasn't the main thrust of my post which was to debunk the 7:93 stat.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:48 pm 
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Last edited by Loopyloulou on Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:32 pm 
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What happens if you break it down by subject? I am thinking particularly of Classics. If you have a bright 10 year old and are thinking you would like them to experience Latin and Ancient Greek and see how they go , you have a problem.It must be true that it is mostly independent schools who offer these subjects.Not all the grammars in Essex , for example, offer Latin AS and or A2. One compehensive in Essex offers GCSE Latin but not A2 or AS. It must be true then, that most Classics degree students come from independent schools. That would alter the statistics .This may apply to other subjects eg Ancient History. If a comp or grammar doesn't encourage these subects then it will look like the indies have a monopoly. Well of course they do if they are the only ones teaching the subjects.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:03 am 
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Hi loupylou

Quote:
if indies, as a class, were academically selective (like grammars) then you would expect to find a lot of disappointed indie-hopeful children who had failed the indie entrance exams and had to go to the local comp (as with grammars)


Are you saying that indies are not selective at all !!! as i said it seems to me that 20% are highly selective 20% are non selective and the 60% in the middle are selective to varying degrees from highly slective at one end to less selective at the other so it is very easy to fit children who haven't passed the 11 plus or been selected for the more selective indies into the less selective end but the overal selectiveness of the indie group stands , for the 93:7 ratio to stand then what you are saying is the academic potential of the indie intake is identical to state intake for which you need to provide v hard evidence.

Quote:
The Oxbridge intake figures are never broken down by individual college. If they were, it would become clear that the indie proportions getting into the best Oxbridge colleges are much higher again than it appears, with state schools dominating places like St Peter's College, Oxford.


|This is a very interesting point i wonder if these better top colleges do more classics etrc and so will naturally take more indie kids?


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