Belfast Telegraph

Chances of going to university depend on where school leavers live, figures show

A school leaver's chances of going to university depend heavily on where they live, new figures suggest.

Teenagers in London are around 25% more likely to go into higher education than their peers across England, according to new data published by Ucas.

On average, a third (33.3%) of 18-year-olds in England went on to study for a degree this autumn, the university admissions service statistics show.

But a breakdown reveals significant regional differences.

The highest university entry rate was in the capital, where more than two fifths of 18-year-olds (41.8%) were accepted on to degree courses this autumn.

" This means 18-year-olds from London were more likely than 18-year-olds anywhere else in England (and the UK more generally) to be accepted into higher education this year," Ucas said.

The South East had the second highest entry rate, at 33.7%.

Every other English region had entry rates lower than the overall rate for the nation, the Ucas figures show, although in each case, apart from one, the entry rate was over 30%.

The region with the lowest proportion of school leavers going on to university this year was the South West at 28.9%.

This means that 18-year-olds in London were around 44% more likely to go on to study for a degree this year than those studying in the South West, Ucas said.

The figures for the other English regions were: North East, 30.3%, North West 32.9%, Yorkshire and the Humber 31.6%, East Midlands 30.3%, West Midlands 31.6% and the East of England 32.9%.

The statistics also show that Northern Ireland had an entry rate of 34.5%, while in Wales it was 29.4% and in Scotland 25.9% - although Ucas does not record all higher education in Scotland.

Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: "A common theme to emerge from our analysis of data from the 2017 cycle is that the entry rate of 18-year-olds to higher education has increased across all parts of the UK.

"This trend is most pronounced in London. There have been significant and much documented improvements to secondary education in the capital. Understanding how to replicate this high level of attainment could help drive increases in entry rates elsewhere."

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