Women dominate BPTC enrolments, but more men score top marks

Avatar photo

By Thomas Connelly on

Even when they have the same undergraduate degree results

New research has revealed a higher percentage of aspiring male barristers secure top marks on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) than women. This is despite women dominating enrolments on the vocational course.

Statistics published by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) show that between 2014 and 2016, roughly a third of male UK/EU domiciled students with a first-class undergraduate degree went on to secure an “Outstanding” grade on the BPTC, compared to just one quarter of women with the same academic credentials.

It’s also the case that a higher proportion of male students who achieved 2:1s and 2:2s at undergraduate level scored top BPTC grades. The percentage of male 2:2-ers securing an “Outstanding”, for example, is more than double the percentage of female 2:2-ers doing the same.

The eye-catching findings come despite women taking up the majority of BPTC places: 462 women enrolled on the course in 2016, compared to just 347 men. In the previous year, the numbers were 440 women and 358 men.

The 2018 BPTC Most List

However, among UK/EU students just over half of pupillage places, 50.2%, were awarded to women. This was an increase from last year, when the figure was 48.2%.

Again when just looking at UK/EU-domiciled BPTC graduates, around 48% of those who enrolled on the course from 2012 to 2015 have so far started pupillage. This figure drops to around 41% when 2017 graduates, who have had less time to find a training place, are included.

Earlier this year Legal Cheek brought you news of an anonymous wannabe barrister who had started blogging about failing the BPTC. She made a somewhat extreme comparison between flunking the course and losing a loved one; she writes:

“[W]hen someone dies you pay your respects and express your condolences. Here, with the BPTC, no one even knows how to react! You were supposed to be their ‘lawyer’ after all, and now what?!”

According to the BSB stats, over 4,319 students enrolled on the BPTC between 2014 and 2017. Legal Cheek’s BPTC Most List shows students can pay up to approximately £20,000 to secure a place on the course.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek's careers events:

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub