Postcode lottery still determines degree achievement

A “postcode lottery” still determines whether a youngster is likely to get a university degree or not, according to a report out today.

The gap between the percentage of people gaining degrees in the country’s most disadvantaged areas and those living in more affluent suburbs nearby is widening, says the analysis.

The report studies degree performance in 21 inner city areas on a Parliamentary constituency basis.

It shows, for instance, that two out of three people living in Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency had a degree - and only three per cent had no qualifications at all.

Just down the road in former Cabinet minister David Blunkett’s constituency only 15 per cent have a degree while 23 per cent have no qualifications at all.

Mr Clegg’s constituency is in the more affluent suburbs of the city while Mr Blunkett’s serves the city centre.

In the 20 constituencies with the lowest level of participation in higher education last year, the proportion of the working age population with a degree-level qualification or above fell from 12.6 per cent to 12.1 per cent in the three years from 2005.

By contrast, the figures for the 20 constituencies with the highest level of participation show a rise from 48.8 per cent to 57.2 per cent in 2008.

The analysis was carried out by the UCU, the university and college lecturers’ union, whose general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Education holds the key to improving social mobility, tackling poverty and extending opportunity for all.

“Those with the greatest access to qualifications tend to be healthier, wealthier and more active citizens.

“Yet, as this report shows, the current divide between the haves and have nots is growing with where you live largely determining your chance to educational success.”

There are signs, though, that the picture may be about to change.

A report to be published later this month, details of which have been given to The Independent, shows there has been a significant increase in the number of people from disadvantaged families going to university with 18.5 per cent of those from the two poorest income groups seeking a place last year compared with just 13.5 per cent a decade previously.

While this is no guarantee of a rise in degree level participation in low participation neighbourhoods, university officials are optimistic it offers hope for the future.

Today’s report from the UCU which covers the workforce in the area (and therefore people who left school a long time ago) just underlines what a mountain has to be climbed.

A spokeswoman for Lord Mandelson’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “The Government has worked hard to widen participation with the overall number of students from lower socio economic groups going to university at its highest level for seven years.

“With investment at record levels, real progress is being made across England with marked growth in some of the most disadvantaged areas.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Nursery Manager is required t...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk