Class, gender and schooling ‘still play large part in children’s plans to go to university’

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PRIVATELY-EDUCATED teenagers are more likely to want to go to university than those who went to state school, research has found.

And boys are significantly less likely to plan to study for a degree than girls, it suggests.

The University and College 
Union (UCU), which commissioned the survey, said it was “worrying” that class, gender and schooling still play a large part in whether or not young people 
consider going into higher education.

In total, more than 2,000 young people were asked for their views on training and education after age 18.

The findings show a clear gap in university plans between private and state educated students.

Almost eight in 10 (78 per cent) private school students said that they would like to go to university straight after school or college, compared to just under two thirds (62 per cent) of those who went to state school and 31 per cent of those at college.

The poll found differences between rich and poor teenagers, with over two thirds from the highest social grades planning on studying for a degree compared to just over half (52 per cent) of youngsters from the lowest social grades.

And while around three quarters (74 per cent) of the young women surveyed said that they want to go straight to university, only 65 per cent of young men said the same.

The figures reflect the latest UCAS statistics which have shown that 18-year-old women are now a third more likely to enter higher education than young men.

The admissions service has also estimated that the gap between men and women is likely to be larger than the gap between rich and poor applicants within 10 years.

UCU’s poll also shows that young people’s university plans are likely to change as they get older, with 13 and 14-year-olds more likely to say they want to go on to higher education when they leave school or college than 16 and 17-year-olds.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘Worryingly, class, gender and schooling still play far too large a part in whether or not young people even consider university, with boys from state schools and the poorest economic backgrounds faring worst.”