State schools elite shows Oxbridge entrance expertise: Fran Abrams looks at the background of the new Cambridge intake (CORRECTED)

CORRECTION (PUBLISHED 2 OCTOBER 1993) APPENDED TO THIS ARTICLE

TWO COMPREHENSIVES are among the top 10 state schools sending pupils to Cambridge this year, a survey by the university's student newspaper, Varsity, has found.

Cherwell School in Oxford and Harrogate Grammar School in North Yorkshire each won eight places this year, putting them ahead of many selective and fee-paying schools.

Public schools still hold a dominant position, however. Almost half this year's Cambridge freshers are from independent schools, which take about 10 per cent of the country's pupils. The top 10 took up 233 of the 3,000 available places.

This is the second year that the newspaper has conducted a telephone survey of schools with exceptional A-level results in order to find out how many had translated examination success into university places.

Steven Mathieson, editor of Varsity, said that independent schools were able to dominate the entries by giving their charges the right kind of coaching for exams and interviews.

'It isn't the old school tie any longer, but it is about how well those schools prepare their students for admission to Cambridge. There is also now an elite of state schools which have got this expertise in training students for Oxbridge entrance.'

Harrogate Grammar became a comprehensive 20 years ago. Although it has not changed its name, and retains a strong academic ethos, it is committed to remaining mixed-ability.

Kevin McAleese, the head teacher, said the school had a tradition of Oxbridge entry going back at least a decade. It also trained its pupils in public speaking and gave them mock interviews, which helped them to succeed in the tough entry procedure. 'We are not saying Oxbridge is the best place to be, but we are saying that if our students think they would benefit then they should try. There is no doubt that we have a favoured entry for a comprehensive, and we put that together with high quality teaching.'

David Summerscale, headmaster of Westminster, said his pupils were becoming more willing to try for a wider range of universities, but Oxford and Cambridge were still the most popular. 'I think it probably remains the prime target for a lot of the most able, but by no means for all. Oxford and Cambridge are very desirable - they like the collegiate system and they know where they stand in that sort of world.'

----------------------------------------------------------------- TOP STATE AND INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS SENDING PUPILS TO CAMBRIDGE ----------------------------------------------------------------- (Last year's position in brackets) INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS STATE SCHOOLS 1. Westminster - 44 (2) 1. Royal Grammar, High Wycombe - 16 2. St Paul's Boys' - 34 (3) 2. Methodist College, Belfast - 13 3. St Paul's Girls' - 25 (6) 3. Latymer, Edmonton - 12 4. Royal Grammar, Newcastle - 20 (-) 4. Colchester County High, Essex - 10 5. King Edward's, Birmingham - 19 (5) 4. Chelmsford County High, Essex - 10 5. Bradford Grammar - 19 (-) 6. St Olave's, Kent - 9 7. Manchester Grammar - 18 (-) 6. Dr Challoner's Grammar, Bucks - 9 7. Haberdasher's Aske's, Herts - 18 (3) 8. Harrogate Grammar - 8 7. King's, Canterbury - 18 (8) 8. Cherwell, Oxford - 8 10. Eton - 17 (4) 10. Several schools with six entrants -----------------------------------------------------------------

CORRECTION

Aylesbury Grammar School in Buckinghamshire was omitted from yesterday's list of Cambridge entries from state schools. The school sent 10 pupils to Cambridge this year, placing it joint fourth on the table compiled by the university's newspaper, Varsity.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence