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The Prince is absolutely right – bring back grammar schools

It was a stormy graduation day in Cambridge on Saturday. Drenched with rain, the students in their gowns looked like penguins emerging from the sea. Parents wielded golf umbrellas, the sword and shield of the English middle classes. The downpour could not extinguish their justifiable pride: a degree from a university often ranked number one in the world is still a glittering prize.

But as the graduates splashed down Trinity Street clutching their BA (Cantab), I wondered how many had come to this beautiful, fiercely clever place from a state school, as I did. The latest figures reveal that state-educated applicants bagged just over 61 per cent of Cambridge places in 2013/14, down from more than 63 per cent. Despite the university spending more than £4 million a year on “outreach” work to identify talented pupils from deprived backgrounds, Cambridge’s social mix remains stubbornly static.

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