Churchill is very conscious of the challenges that our offer-holders and their supporters have faced in this extraordinary year, particularly widening participation students. We send our heartfelt congratulations to all those who have already secured the results they expected in such circumstances.
In our admissions confirmation process, we have been highly alert to these challenges. Each offer-holder has been looked at individually and we have balanced academic grades with contextual factors. When considering candidates whose grades did not meet their offer, we reviewed their academic record and reference, personal statement, performance in any written assessments, contextual data, and performance at interview. We have been as flexible as possible in making adjustments to offers. As in previous years, this careful review process has allowed us to confirm places for several offer-holders with grades below our original conditions.
Initial figures indicate that our widening participation confirmations are more numerous than ever. For example, 17.5% of our confirmed home offer-holders are from areas of lowest progression to Higher Education (POLAR4 quintiles 1 and 2), compared with the Cambridge University target of 12.7%. 74% of our confirmed home offer-holders attended state schools and colleges, of which 66% attended an academy, comprehensive school, sixth form college, or further education college. Our overall cohort is also equally (50:50) split in gender for the first time, which has long been our aim but is also a challenge because Churchill is bound by statute that 70% of its membership should be STEM students; fields in which women remain significantly under-represented at school and university.
For any offer-holder in the 2020 admissions round who has been unable to sit exams and whose awarded grades do not meet our academic offer conditions, Churchill has made this commitment: should they meet the original academic conditions of our offer to them, either on appeal and/or after an alternate sitting of the exams they have missed, they shall be admitted to Cambridge at the start of either the 2020-21 or the 2021-22 academic year. This commitment has now been communicated to all affected students, and we have already spoken with a number who intend to take it up.
We congratulate all our offer-holders this year and thank them for the fortitude they have shown, especially in recent days. We wish them all very well indeed. We shall continue to advise and support those who have missed their offers, who have been unable to sit exams, in the days and weeks ahead.