Oxford University admitted record share of ethnic minorities last year

Oxford University admitted a record share of ethnic minorities last year following claims it was institutionally biased against black applicants

  • 18.3% of new undergraduates were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds 
  • Six out of 10 new students had been to state school – also the highest ever
  • Last year Labour MP David Lammy criticised pace of change as being ‘glacial’

Oxford University admitted a record share of ethnic minority students last year.

Nearly one in five, 18.3 per cent, of new undergraduates were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in the autumn of 2018, a report said.

It also said that more than six out of 10 new students were from state school backgrounds – again the highest-ever share.

The figures follow criticism from prominent figures of institutional bias against black applicants.

Last year Labour MP David Lammy said progess in increasing the proportion of black students had been ‘glacial’, adding ‘the truth is that Oxford is still a bastion of white, middle class, southern privilege.’

Oxford University (pictured, the Radcliffe Camera) admitted a record share of ethnic minority students last year, with 18.3 per cent coming from BAME backgrounds (stock photo)

Yesterday’s report on undergraduate admissions said that among new ethnic minority students, the share who were black rose from 1.9 to 2.6 per cent.

The share of new students from poorer postcodes described as ‘areas of low progression to higher education’ went up to 13.1 per cent, the share of disabled studens was 9.2 per cent, and there were more women than men, at 51.2 per cent.

The University said early indications for this autumn’s intake showed that there was a record number of offers of places to state school students, 64.5 per cent, and offers to students from less favoured areas were up to 13.8 per cent.

It said that the selection of students had been by academic potential alone and there had been no lowering of standards for any group.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson said the growing numbers of minority, poor and state school students had been encouraged by university initiatives, such as the UNIQ programme that invites potential students to spend a week in Oxford preparing for possible admission.

Last year Labour MP David Lammy said progess in increasing the proportion of black students had been ‘glacial’. ‘The truth is that Oxford is still a bastion of white, middle class, southern privilege,’ he added

‘It was precisely because of our concern that the pace of change was too slow that this year we are increasing the size of our flagship summer programme UNIQ by 50 per cent to 1375 school pupils.

‘We also announced the creation of two new programmes, Opportunity Oxford and Foundation Oxford, which we believe will significantly accelerate the pace of change. When both programmes are up and running in four years’ time we expect that one in four of those admitted to Oxford will be from a deprived background.

The entire University community, colleges and halls, departments and divisions, have united behind a commitment to effect a sea change in our admissions practices.’

The two new programmes are a study course to help prospective students and a year-long course for those who have ‘experienced personal disadvantage or severely disrupted education.’ They are designed to help 250 students each year.

There have been charges that Oxford and Cambridge are rigging their admissions rules against independent school pupils in their drive to find more students from the state sector.

Anthony Wallersteiner, head of Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, last month accused them of social engineering and said that access and participation plans had ‘successfully driven down the number of Oxbridge places awarded to privately educated pupils.’

Oxford said yesterday: ‘Everyone at Oxford is selected on academic ability and potential above all other factors, using rigorous admissions processes and contextual information. The introduction of these two new access programmes will not change this.

‘Background and circumstance should not be a barrier to a first class education. We are committed to our role in broadening participation in higher education, and building an inclusive vibrant Oxford; to achieve this we are reaching out to and selecting the best students from across the school spectrum and different communities across the country. And we feel strongly that these initiatives will support us to achieve this over time.’

 

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