22 September 2019

BPTC statistics highlight gender profile of pupils

We have published a new edition of our statistical information on student performance on the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

The new analysis - which has been updated to include students who completed the BPTC in 2015 - shows that becoming a barrister remains very competitive. New detail in the report provides a clearer analysis than ever before.

Key findings within the statistics were:

  • The number of women securing pupillage(47%)is now similar to that of men.
  • 4,760 students started the BPTC between 2012 and 2014. 72%  have passed the course to date (although it should be noted that this percentage will increase as more recent starters successfully re-sit or complete the two-year part-time course).
  • 11% of all BPTC graduates in the same period achieved the highest grade, "Outstanding".
  • 35%  of all UK/EU domiciled graduates enrolled on the BPTC in the academic years commencing in 2011-2013 have gained pupillage since completing the BPTC. Following graduation, some students do not intend to gain pupillage.
  • Performance in the BPTC is a better guide to future success in securing pupillage than performance in a first degree.
  • White BPTC candidates may be more successful in securing pupillage than BME candidates, but more research is needed to determine whether and, if so, why this may be the case.

The number of women awarded pupillage is encouraging, but more women than men enrolled on the BPTC over the same period. If men and women are seeking pupillage in the same proportion, this analysis might suggest that men have a greater chance of success. If these assumptions are correct, more work may be required to address gender bias (albeit unconscious) in the process.

Our report presents detailed analysis of the characteristics of students who progress to pupillage. We have published the information at the earliest opportunity to help students considering the BPTC to make informed decisions and to promote competition between BPTC providers. Read more about the report in our press release.

We recently identified the lack of diversity in the profession as one of three  strategic risk priorities on which we would focus our attention. It is giving priority to a number of regulatory work programmes to address the issue. The new evidence about BPTC student progression supports this approach. It also feeds into our equality and diversity programme of work and the ongoing Future Bar Training review into qualification and training arrangements for the Bar.