New figures from the Sutton Trust, a social mobility charity, also show that the number of Oxbridge graduates teaching in state secondary schools has almost doubled in the last 12 years – from around 6,000 to around 11,000.
However, the analysis shows that teachers in independent secondary schools are three times more likely to have an Oxbridge subject degree than their state school counterparts – and are also more likely to hold PhD and Master’s qualifications.
Independent teachers are also more likely than state teachers to have post-graduate qualifications relevant to the subjects that they teach, especially in the shortage subjects of physics and maths.
The findings come from a new report by the Sutton Trust, entitled Teaching by Degrees, which is calling for graduates from the most selective universities to be given more incentives to teach in state schools.
The charity points to research evidence showing that solid subject knowledge is one of the keys to effective teaching and argues that this is key to raising aspiration for disadvantaged students.
The figures show that in UK state secondary schools, 65.7 per cent of teachers hold Bachelor’s degrees and PGCE qualifications, compared to 62.6 per cent of independent secondary school teachers.
A further four per cent of the state school teachers hold Bachelor of Education degrees compared to 1.6 per cent of the independent school teachers.
However, when it comes to post-graduate degrees, 26.8 per cent of state secondary teachers hold Master’s compared to
28.1 per cent of their independent counterparts. These figures are notably higher than in 2003, when 14.4 per cent of state teachers and 17.4 per cent of independent teachers held Master’s.
Also, 2.6 per cent of state school teachers hold PhDs compared with 6.1 per cent in the independent sector.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “One of the most important factors in being a good teacher is good subject knowledge. Yet in some key subjects access to excellent teachers is too often lacking in state schools.
“Although the figures show that there has been progress over the past few years with better qualified teachers and more from Oxbridge, it’s vital that we do more to ensure that pupils from low and middle income backgrounds are just as likely to access the best teachers as their more advantaged peers.”