A case for state-school only Oxbridge colleges

Philosopher Lorna Finlayson argues in this Guardian article that Oxford and Cambridge should establish colleges that only admit state-school pupils, who are woefully under-represented at these universities. The main thrust of her argument is that all of the considerations in favour of colleges exclusively for women (of which Cambridge has three; Oxford opened its last women-only college to men in 2008) also apply to the case of state-educated pupils. Well worth a read!

7 thoughts on “A case for state-school only Oxbridge colleges

  1. Interested readers may like to know that Mansfield College, Oxford (incidentally the most poorly endowed college in Oxford – setting aside the very small Harris Manchester College, which admits only mature students) has, for the last decade or so, been admitting around 70% state school students as undergraduates, and most recently has hovered around 80%.

  2. Similarly, Homerton College, Cambridge accepts around 70% state school students (though I believe it has a much higher proportion of state school applications to start with – partly due to great access work, and a reputation for being friendly and low key)

  3. “Cambridge, for example, has three [women-only colleges]” is a bit misleading? Oxford has none; the governing bodies of the last two voted to go mixed in 1994 and c.2005, as I recall

  4. To NathanielAdamTobiasC (2) – I’ve never heard that argument for Mansfield; can you elaborate? It’s not one of the colleges I know well; I had a rather different impression of the cause and effect but I’d be interested to hear the details.

    In general the relation between state school intake and wealth in a Oxford is driven by a mixture of factors with rather complicated consequences: last time I looked, St John’s college – easily the *richest* college in Oxford – also had the highest fraction of state school students after Mansfield and Harris Manchester.

  5. I’m told by a 60’s grad of St Catherine’s (Oxford) that it was originally seen as more state-school oriented. I think its founding head, Bullock, was positively pink, in the political sense.

    I,m not sure of any facts here.

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