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Gulf between rich and poor pupils grows

By Jack Hardy

The gulf between the numbers of rich and poor children winning university places has reached record levels, figures from Ucas show.

Students who received free school meals­ ­­- the long-time indicator of poverty - are less than half as likely to enter higher education than those who do not get the dinners, the biggest gap in recent years.

While there has been a steady increase in the entry levels among less wealthy students over the last 10 years, an increase of 78% proportionally, this has slowed sharply since 2015, according to the organisation's annual report.

The UK university acceptance rate for more advantaged students is increasing around five times faster (up 1.4 percentage points to 32.8%) than for their poorer peers who are on free dinners (up 0.3 percentage points to 16.1%).

While this marks an all-time high for the amount entering university from both demographics, the difference in growth widens the gap between rich and poor to its largest since 2006. This 16.7 percentage point difference is the "largest recorded value" between the two groups.

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