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State school students 'achieve better degrees'

18/09/2015 Joanna
Students are more likely to achieve a higher grade at university if they attended a state school, rather than a private facility, a new report has revealed.

Research published by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC) suggests that 82% of former state school students achieved a first or upper second degree last year, compared with 73% of private school students.

It comes after a report earlier this year showed that record levels of first class degrees were awarded in 2014-15, with 21% of all graduates gaining the top grade and a further 51% of students awarded upper seconds.

One key finding of the new HEFC study was that state school pupils consistently outperform private school students relative to their A-level grades when it comes to admissions.

While three-quarters of students entering with three B grades will achieve a first or upper second class degree, this stands at 84 per cent for state school students.

A major variation was also seen when it came to individual subjects, with 90 per cent of those taking medicine achieving a first or upper second degree, compared with 73 per cent for maths and 69% for law.

In terms of gender, 74 per cent of women achieved top grades, compared with 70 per cent of men.

The analysis shows "persistent unexplained differences" in degree outcomes for particular groups of students, explained Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the HEFC.

She also noted that students who are disabled, from a disadvantaged background, or an ethnic minority group, continue to achieve lower degree outcomes than their non-disabled, white, peers.

Ms Atkins added: "We must ensure that all students regardless of background or characteristics fulfil their potential and achieve the degree outcomes they deserve."ADNFCR-2164-ID-801800822-ADNFCR
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