Revealed: UK's Top 20 Schools for Oxbridge

Which state and independent schools in the UK send the most students to the country's top-ranking universities Oxford and Cambridge?
Revealed: UK's Top 20 Schools for Oxbridge
By Carli Allan
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The top school in the UK – and the world – for Oxbridge entry remains Westminster School, with 79 out of its 750 students being offered places at Oxford and Cambridge.

The top 10 schools globally with the most Oxford and Cambridge offers in 2021 include eight UK-based schools, – four state schools and four independent schools – Westminster, The Perse School, Eton and St Paul's Girls. The four high-performing state schools feature in third, fourth, fifth and seventh place in the rankings: Hills Road Sixth Form College, Peter Symonds College, Brampton Manor Academy, and Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College.

The latest data for 2021 Oxbridge admissions was published in the UK's The Telegraph newspaper; it relates to the cohort of students who applied to Oxbridge during the autumn term of 2020, ready to take up a place in October 2021.

While historically both top-ranking universities have not favoured state-educated students from the UK, that is changing. In recent years, both Oxford and Cambridge have boosted their intake of state school-educated students. This can be seen starkly in the number of offers going to the top independents: The two universities offered 47 places to students at the prestigious Eton College this year, compared to 99 in 2014. By comparison, London state school Hills Road Sixth Form College was the highest-performing state school, ranked number three in the world with 69 Oxbridge offers and a 23% success rate.

Read more: Which UK state schools get students into Oxbridge?

The only two international schools in the global top 10 include Raffles Junior College, Singapore at number two, which consistently sends between 50 and 70 students each year to Oxbridge. It rose two places in the rankings from last year, with a total of 77 offers. This highly selective pre-University college enrols students from across the local Singapore population and is not for expat students; admission is competitive, highly selective and based on top grades at GCSE. 

In sixth place is Singapore's Hwa Chong Institution, which is part of the same family of schools as Hwa Chong International). Another local, government-run secondary Singaporean School, it is seeing the number of Oxbridge places rise year on year. It had 53 offers and a 26.8% success rate. Given that it has 4,000 students, and is again a highly selective secondary, its success while impressive, is also understandable. 

The UK's top 20 Oxbridge Schools

  1. Westminster School. This highly selective boarding school located within the walls of Westminster Abbey in central London is all-boys up until Sixth Form. The £32,247 a year school received 79 offers, the highest number of any school worldwide. (Global ranking: 1)
  2. Hills Road Sixth Form College. A high achieving state sixth form college in Cambridge with a large community of 2,000 students. The college offers a wide range of A Level courses, and in 2021 received 69 Oxbridge offers, with 38 for Oxford and 31 for Cambridge. (Global ranking: 3)
  3. Peter Symonds College. This standalone, high achieving state-funded sixth form college for 16–19 year olds offers an inclusive curriculum a supportive ethos, and a boarding education for less than £17,000 a year. The school received 56 offers. (Global ranking: 4)
  4. Brampton Manor Academy. Located in one of the Newham, East London (one of the poorest boroughs in the country) this co-ed secondary school and sixth-form college of 400 students has a reputation for academic excellence – and for famously sending more students to Oxbridge than Eton. In 2021, 54 students were offered Oxbridge places at this state school. (Global ranking: 5)
  5. Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College. A non-selective state sixth form in Brighton with around 3,200 pupils. Its exam results place it in the top 1% of schools and colleges in the UK, and this year it celebrated 52 Oxbridge offers. (Global ranking: 7)
  6. The Perse School. This large selective all-through day school in Cambridge has a diverse student body, a reputation for strong GCSE and A Level results, and a rigorous academic curriculum that is balanced by a progressive outdoor programme. The number of Oxbridge offers at the £18,525 a-year-school was 48. (Global ranking: 8)
  7. Eton College. One of the world’s best-known schools, this all boy, all boarding school achieved a total of 47 Oxbridge offers. Whilst an Eton education has become associated with members of the aristocracy, the British royal family and government,  it is broadening its student catchment to children from a variety of backgrounds with a generous bursary system. (Global ranking: 9)
  8. St Paul's Girls School. One of the country’s top private all-girls’ schools, this West London day school has a strong track record of sending its students to Oxbridge, teaching self-developed alternatives to some GCSE courses, and offering a broader range of study than A Levels can offer alone. The only all-girls school to feature in the top 10, it had 46 offers for Oxford and Cambridge and a 46.9% success rate. (Global ranking: 10)
  9. St Paul's School, London. An elite and prestigious all-boy school seeks only the brightest, academic children to apply and, already over-subscribed, parents with all but the brightest children will find themselves unlikely to secure a place. One of the UK’s top feeder streams to Oxbridge it had 40 offers and 26% success rate. (Global ranking: 11)
  10. Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet. A state school in north London, this is an all-boys grammar school with a selective admissions policy and a reputation for topping exam league tables. It had 39 offers. (Global ranking: 12)
  11. St Olave's and St Saviour's Grammar School. A selective secondary school for boys in Orpington, Greater London which is one of the higher achieving state schools in the UK based on outstanding A Level results. The number of Oxbridge offers here was 37.
  12. Harris Westminster Sixth Form. A selective mixed sixth form in central London which opened less than 10 years ago in 2014 with the aim of  increasing the rate of entry to top universities among students from areas of socio-economic deprivation. In 2021, it celebrated 35 Oxbridge offers.
  13. Magdalen College School, Oxford. Located in central Oxford, MCS is a day school for boys aged seven to 18 years and girls aged 16-18 years. It is a high-achieving academic school offering a challenging and traditional curriculum that prepares its students well for entry to some of the UK's top universities. In 2021, 32 students were offered Oxbridge places.
  14. Sevenoaks School. This IB school in Kent offers many opportunities of a prestigious English boarding school education with a more child-focused, added value and inclusive spirit at its heart. 31 students were offered Oxbridge places.
  15. City of London School.An all-boys school for the academically strong with an iconic location, a long tradition of single-sex education, and consistently high results and entry to top universities.  31 students were offered Oxbridge places.
  16. Winstanley College. There's high demand for places at this state run sixth form college in Greater Manchester.  30 students were offered Oxbridge places.
  17. Henrietta Barnett School. Located in north London, this is a very popular state grammar academy for girls aged 11-18 years with a selective admissions policy.  30 students were offered Oxbridge places.
  18. Newham Collegiate Sixth Form. This state-run sixth form college in east London specialises in the teaching of maths and the sciences. The school received 29 offers for Oxbridge.
  19. Highgate School. This co-educational, independent day school for students aged three to 18 has really come to the forefront of private education in recent years. A high-performing, challenging and academically rigorous school, Highgate has an excellent academic record. The school received 79 offers for Oxbridge.
  20. Brighton College. A progressive all-through co-ed day and boarding school with outstanding academic results, first-class facilities, a strong social responsibility, and a very charming coastal location. As well as being known for its academic strengths, this all-through UK curriculum school has a reputation for innovative initiatives such as creating a gender-neutral school uniform and having mixed boarding houses. The school received 28 offers for Oxbridge.

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