Two-thirds of students who pass the £12,500-plus Bar Professional Training Course fail to secure a pupillage, according to new statistics that once again call into question the credibility of the bar’s training regime.

Nearly half of pupillages are awarded to women, but the bar regulator says that since more women than men enrol on the BPTC, ‘more work may be required’ to tackle gender bias. White BPTC candidates may also be more successful in securing pupillage than BME candidates, it adds, though ‘more research is needed’.

The new analysis, by the Bar Standards Board, has been updated to include students who completed the BPTC in 2015. It shows that:

  • 4,760 students started the BPTC between 2012 and 2014, of whom 72% have passed to date (a proportion set to rise through resits or as recent starters complete the course).
  • 11% of all BPTC graduates in the same period achieved the highest grade, ‘Outstanding’.

Some 35% of all UK/EU domiciled graduates enrolled on the BPTC from 2011-2013 have gained pupillage since completing the BPTC.

The future of the BPTC, which costs £12,500-£18,000, is under review as part of the BSB’s Future Bar Training programme.

BSB director of education and training, Dr Simon Thornton-Wood, said: ‘We are very aware that training to become a barrister can be expensive. We hope that the publication of today’s statistics will help students considering a career at the bar to make a fully informed decision about their chances of success.’