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Becoming a barrister remains highly competitive, new report shows

The BSB has today published the third annual edition of its statistical information on student performance on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The new, updated analysis includes information about students who enrolled in the 2015/16 academic year, as well as those who enrolled on the BPTC in the preceding two academic years.

It also includes statistics on students enrolled on the BPTC between 2011/12 and 2015/16 who started pupillage following completion of the course. This provides a wider timeframe in which to see the proportion of graduates who gain pupillage within the five-year window allowed, following completion of the course.

It shows, as previous reports published in 2015 and 2016 have shown, that the Bar is an extremely competitive profession.

Key findings from the latest report are:

  • 4,435 students started the BPTC between 2013 and 2015. 68.2% have passed the course to date.
  • 13.5% of all BPTC graduates in the same period achieved the highest grade, “Outstanding”.
  • The percentage of applicants being enrolled onto the course has decreased. Enrolmenton the BPTC in 2015/16 was down almost 7% compared to 2014/15, and almost 9% compared to 2013/14, although applications for the course increased from 2014/15 to 2015/16 by around 9%.
  • The percentage of Overseas (non-UK/EU) domiciled students on the BPTC increased for the 2015/16 cohort to 43% from 40% for 2014/15 students. This is due to a continuing decrease in the number of UK domiciled students – in 2011/12 the percentage of Overseas students on the BPTC was 33%.
  • Of the UK/EU domiciled graduates of the BPTC,around 39% of those who enrolled on the course from 2011/12-2014/15 have so far started pupillage. This figure drops to around 37% when including 2015/16 graduates as they have had less time in which to gain pupillage.
  • Among the UK/EU-domiciled BPTC graduates,48.2% of pupillages were awarded to women.
  • Among the UK/EU-domiciled graduates,19.7% of pupillages were awarded to BME candidates.

BSB Director of Strategy and Policy, Ewen MacLeod said: “The continued annual publication of these statistics gives us the most up-to-date data, helping us to make sure that our plans to reform
the system of education and training for barristers are informed by the latest evidence of students studying for the Bar. It also helps students to make informed decisions about their chances of success within the current qualification model. These data provide a benchmark to help us measure the future success of the limited number of alternative approaches that we plan to allow to be
authorised as part of our Future Bar Training programme.”

You can read the full statistics report here

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