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Oxbridge north-south divide

This map shows which UK areas have the most Oxbridge students and the north-south divide is real

Students in the south are twice as likely to get into Oxbridge as northern students


Oxford and Cambridge are well-known for being posh universities. In 2023, 28.2 per cent of students at Cambridge come from a private school and 31.4 per cent of Oxford students are privately educated. This number tends to decrease year on year as the universities work on inclusivity within their admissions processes. However, only seven per cent of the overall population is privately educated meaning this is still wildly disproportionate.

But what about the north-south divide at Oxford and Cambridge? Has this managed to decrease over the years?

Well, new data has been released on the UK regions that produce the most Oxford and Cambridge students and the results show the North-South divide is as prominent as ever.

The data, released from the Department of Education, found that students in the south of England are twice as likely to get into Oxbridge than those in the north.

There are even three areas in the UK, Salford, Hartlepool and Knowsley, where not a single student made it into Oxford or Cambridge.

In Salford, there were 1,332 students who finished their A-Levels, but not one of them managed to make it into Oxford or Cambridge.

You can see how many students from each area of the UK got into Oxbridge using this interactive map:

A total of 722 pupils from Northern state schools and colleges made it to Oxford or Cambridge. That works out to 0.7 per cent of students in the North. But compared to the equivalent down south, it shows how strong the north/south divide is when it comes to Oxbridge acceptance rates.

2,462 students from southern state schools made it to Oxbridge, which is 1.3 per cent of all southern students. This means students living down south were almost twice as likely to go to either Oxford or Cambridge.

At the other end of the scale, Hertfordshire, with 137, was the area which saw the most students accepted into Oxford or Cambridge. This was closely followed by Kent with 136 students, Hampshire with 117 and Newham with 113.

There are also particular schools that were incredibly successful in getting their students to Oxford and Cambridge. In a shock to absolutely no one, the top ten schools are all based in London and the surrounding areas.

These are the top state and grammar schools for sending students to Oxbridge:

  1. Brampton Manor Academy, London – 53 students
  2. Harris Westminster Sixth Form, London – 38 students
  3. London Academy of Excellence, Essex – 37 students
  4. Henrietta Barnett School, London – 35 students
  5. Pate’s Grammar School, Gloucestershire – 32 students
  6. Colchester Royal Grammar School, Essex – 28 students
  7. St Olave’s and St Saviour’s grammar School, London – 28 students
  8. The Tiffin Girls’ School, London – 27 students
  9. Dame Alice Owen’s School, Hertfordshire – 26 students
  10. King Edward VI Grammar School, Essex – 21 students

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