QE confirmed as top state school for Russell Group entry

Data released this week by the Department for Education has revealed that a higher proportion of QE pupils gained places at Russell Group universities than at any other state school.

QE was the top-performing state school in 2009/2010 in terms of the percentage of students awarded places at the Russell Group, an organisation comprising the UK’s leading universities, including Cambridge and Oxford.

It is the first time that the Government has released ‘destination data’ revealing how every school, college and local authority is performing in terms of pupil progression to higher education.

Lord Hill, Schools Minister, said: “We are opening up access to this new data so people can see how different schools and colleges and local authorities perform.”

QE topped the national table of schools sending most leavers to a Russell Group university, at 66 per cent. The Blue Coat School in Liverpool came second with 62 per cent. The data confirms the findings of the leading education foundation, The Sutton Trust, which reported last year that QE not only sends more pupils to the UK’s top universities, but also proportionately more students to Oxford or Cambridge than any other State school.

“It’s gratifying that Government statistics confirm that QE stands out as a place of academic achievement,” said Headmaster Neil Enright. “We take boys from all backgrounds and we urge and encourage them to achieve the highest standards at all times, not just academically, but intellectually and socially, too. The figures reflect QE’s status as a genuine academic meritocracy, which makes a significant contribution to social mobility.”

The data show that 330 schools – about 15 per cent of the total – sent no children at all to Russell Group universities, while at 1,395 schools or colleges no pupils went to Oxbridge. Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union, said: ““We cannot afford to have areas in the country where it is unheard of for people to go to Oxford and Cambridge. The UK badly needs more highly skilled workers if it is to compete with other countries, but this cannot be achieved if youngsters are not allowed to strive to reach their full potential.”

“We encourage our boys to pursue study for the love of the subject,” added Mr Enright. “In addition to Russell Group universities, pupils from QE have taken up places at Ivy League colleges in the US. We also wholeheartedly support those who apply to other universities in the UK which offer them the best opportunity to study the subject of their choice.”

The statistics revealed the performances of local authorities with the largest proportion of students continuing in “sustained education” – a definition which takes in sixth form and further education colleges as well as universities. This included relatively deprived areas such as Tower Hamlets, with 78 per cent. Barnet was among the top ten in both the table for students going to Russell Group universities and the table for Oxbridge.

The Government’s stated purpose in publishing the statistics is to give parents and the public greater information which they can use to help them choose the right school or college for their child.