Some 30% of trainee barristers went to fee paying schools, according to annual statistics released by the Bar Standards Board (BSB). From 2015 to 2017, 30% of UK and EU students on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) went to private schools, compared with 61% who went to state schools. However 9% did not reveal what sort of school they attended.
The data also shows that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates are significantly less likely to secure pupillage than white applicants.
Of UK and EU students with a 2.1 in their undergraduate degree and a ‘very competent’ BPTC grade, and who enrolled in the course from 2013 to 2017, 44% of white students have attained pupillage, compared to 23% of BAME students.
Bar training is currently under review. At the moment, however, the one-year BPTC costs roughly £18,500. The electronic Bar aptitude test, which assesses a candidate’s suitability before they sign up for the course, costs between £150 and £170.
A spokesperson for the BSB said: ‘Our recent reform to Bar training aims to make it more flexible, affordable and accessible while maintaining the high standards of entry expected at the Bar. We are also seeking to encourage more opportunities for pupillage and work-based learning.’
The number of aspiring barristers completing the BPTC and not securing a pupillage remains high. Almost 60% of people who enrolled on the course from 2013 to 2017 had not started pupillage by March 2019.