Private schools yield quarter of medical and dental students

  • Date: 28 March 2011

MORE than a quarter of medical and dental students come from a tiny proportion of UK private schools, official figures show.

Only seven per cent of UK schoolchildren attend fee-paying schools, but graduates go on to form 28.5 per cent of medical and dental university students, according to data from the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

The figures, which originally come from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, also show that more than a quarter of students enrolled on European language degrees, and more than a fifth on history and philosophy degrees are from private schools. Architecture and engineering also had disproportionate numbers of private school pupils, at 11.6 per cent and 10.8 per cent respectively.

The ISC, which represents 1,260 schools, said the figures showed that private schools had excellent teaching and gave pupils superior advice on university applications. It denied results were because many of its schools were academically selective.

Michael Pyke, a spokesman for the Campaign for State Education, told the Guardian the figures were not surprising because most private schools were academically selective, unlike most state schools. "Courses like medicine and architecture require considerable investment on the part of a student and their family. The reason there are disproportionately high numbers of private school pupils studying these subjects is not that they have had superior advice, it is because these children come from well-heeled and naturally ambitious families," he said.

Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, ISC's head of research and intelligence, added: “Our schools are able to guide pupils towards the subjects that will benefit them, rather than the subjects that will help the school rise up a league table."

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