Top universities take 1 per cent of poor

Only one pupil in every 100 on free school meals makes it into a top Russell group university, a study reveals.

By contrast, those from better-off families are seven times more likely to study at one of the 20 universities in the group – which represents leading research institutions.

The figures are in line with research by the education charity the Sutton Trust, showing just under one per cent of Oxford and Cambridge students had been on free school meals.

They were uncovered by Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West and a Conservative on the Education Select Committee, who said: "In far too many cases, our schools system is failing our most disadvantaged children."