State School Students Do Better at University Than Private School Students

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has analysed and released data based on last year’s graduates. The report looks at a number of classifications of first-degree graduates leaving English institutions in 2014; such as age, gender and background.


It has found that students who were educated at a state school were more likely to graduate with a first or upper-second class degree than those who were educated at an independent school. 

82% of state-educated students graduated with a 1st or 2:1, compared to just 73% of former private students.



The findings also show that women are still outperforming men at university.

74% of female graduates achieved a first or upper-second class degree, with only 70% of male graduates leaving with the same.

One of the biggest gender gaps comes from those who entered university with BBB at A-level; 77% of men who fall into this category left with an upper degree grade, compared to 86% of women.

White students also left university with better grades than those from other ethnicities, with a significant percentage difference between the two. 

76% of white graduates left with a first or upper-second class – a huge jump up from 60% of black or ethnic minority graduates.

Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the HE Funding Council for England, had this to say about the results:

“Once again, robust analysis shows persistent unexplained differences in degree outcomes for particular groups of students,” said Madeleine Atkins, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

“Students who are disabled, or from a disadvantaged background, or from an ethnic minority group, continue to achieve lower degree outcomes than their non-disabled, white, advantaged peers.

“We must ensure that all students regardless of background or characteristics fulfil their potential and achieve the degree outcomes they deserve.”

View the full report here.