The Essex schools with the best admission rates for top Russell Group and Oxbridge universities have been revealed.

Last year, just more than half of schools across the country sent at least one pupil to Oxbridge, figures from the Department for Education have shown.

This included Chelmsford County High School for Girls, which was the Essex school that sent the most pupils to one of the top universities in the UK. Within its student cohort who left school in 2020, 17 per cent were sent to Oxbridge while 66 per cent went on to study at a Russell Group university, which includes Oxford and Cambridge, but also Durham, Bristol, St Andrews and the London School for Economics.

Colchester Royal Grammar School and Colchester County High School for Girls come joint second in the list for Essex, with 16 per cent attending Oxbridge within two years of leaving school and 66 per cent heading to the Russell Group universities.

King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford was the best for Russell Group admissions with a whopping 75 per cent of its cohort getting into the most prestigious universities, with 11 per cent heading to Oxbridge.

At Westcliff High School for Boys, a huge 71 per cent were sent to Russell Group universities and four per cent went on to study at Oxbridge. Westcliff High School for Girls sent 46 per cent and four per cent.

Southend High School for Boys also tops the list with 52 per cent of pupils attending Russell Group universities and three per cent attending Oxbridge within two years of leaving the grammar school. Southend High School for Girls sent 39 per cent and three per cent.

These admission rates come as new figures show pupils at Southend schools and colleges achieved a higher average A-level results than the East of England average.

Across England, the average point score for 2022-23 was lower than the previous academic year, which was expected due to a return to pre-pandemic grading, but results saw an increase compared to 2018-19.

Department for Education figures show the average A-level score achieved by pupils in Southend was 36.3 out of 60 maximum points – a higher result than the average of 34 points in the East of England.

Experts say the Government has failed to invest sufficiently in education recovery following the pandemic and must address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Disadvantaged students do less well in A-levels than other students and are less likely to study for A-levels in the first place.

“The Government has failed to invest sufficiently in education recovery following the pandemic and in schools and colleges in general.

“Policy-makers must improve funding rates, address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, make the inspection system less punitive and more supportive, and put an end to child poverty.”

The gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students in England stood at 4.9 points, with average scores of 34.7 and 29.8 points, respectively.

The same was true for Southend, where those better-off received 37 points, while their peers from disadvantaged backgrounds scored 30.1 points.

A Department for Education spokesperson: “We want to make sure that all young people have the same opportunities they need to succeed.

“Before the pandemic, we closed the disadvantage gap by more than 9% – demonstrating that our policies and programmes can make a big impact.

“We are continuing this work through our Recovery Premium, National Tutoring Programme, and the 16-19 Tuition Fund – all of which are focused on helping the most disadvantaged catch up and get ahead with their education.”