He added: “The key thing is for them to start evaluating – to actually work out the stuff they are running and see if it’s working. At the moment frankly they don’t have a clue.”
For the second year running, Oxford admitted the lowest proportion of state school students out of all non-specialist universities.
Last year 58.2 per cent of its intake were state educated, which was up from 57.7 per cent the year before. Meanwhile Cambridge admitted more state school students last year (63.4 per cent) compared to the year before (63.5 per cent).
Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students, said the data shows the “incremental progress” that is being made. He said that the OfS will put pressure on universities to “enhance” their plans on how to admit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We want universities to understand how they are performing using sophisticated measures, looking across different characteristics to understand disadvantage in their own context and targeting their activity and investment so that it really works,” he said.
The proportion of state school students admitted to all British universities dropped slightly from 90 per cent in 2016/17 to 89.8 per cent in 2017/18, the data showed.