LESS than half of state school teachers would advise their brightest pupils to apply to Oxford or Cambridge University, a survey has shown.

The Sutton Trust survey, which questioned 730 state school teachers, found only 44 per cent would recommend their pupils consider applying to Oxbridge.

Jolie Kirby, headteacher at Cheney School, Oxford, said she was surprised by the statistic, which she said was “very worrying”.

She said: “We have got eight students into Oxbridge this year and we have absolute belief that we should be supporting students in their aspirations to apply there.

“It’s not right to deny students the opportunities to aspire to go to universities at that level and I think it’s really important we encourage our students to apply.”

About 58 per cent of Oxford students are from state schools.

University spokesman Julia Paolitto said: “These findings are incredibly frustrating, not only because state students are in the majority at Oxford, but because of all the outreach work we do in state schools, running more than 1,500 events a year and spending millions on activities. Sadly, just one bad headline can unravel that work in an instant.”