STATE school pupils can perform better at university than private school pupils with the same entry grades, according to a leading academic.

Anna Vignoles, professor of education at Cambridge, made the claim after it emerged some universities admit state pupils with lower grades than those from the independent sector.

Ms Vignoles also stressed the data did not show universities were discriminating against private pupils as all students had to meet entry standards.

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"Private schools are effective at getting good grades for people whose ability is lower, whose degree performance is not as good as people from state schools with the same grades," she said.

An analysis of A-level grades of students at Russell Group universities, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, shows those from state schools have weaker grades than private students.