Few from poor Yorkshire homes go to best universities

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THERE WERE no pupils on free school meals in Yorkshire who went on to Oxford or Cambridge University in the first year of higher tuition fees, new figures show.

Department for Education figures also reveal hundreds of schools and colleges across the country are not sending any pupils on to the UK’s leading universities.

More than 1,600 schools nationally did not have any sixth-formers going on to Oxford or Cambridge in the 2012/13 academic year.

The experimental statistics, published by the Department for Education (DfE), suggest that teenagers are more likely to go on to a leading university if they have been educated at a private school.

The figures, for 2012/13, show the “destinations” - such as university or training - of pupils at every state and fee-paying school and college in England.

Just under half of students from state-funded schools and colleges went to university, the DfE’s figures show, down from 53 per cent the year before.

This reflects the drop in students studying for a degree in the year tuition fees were trebled to a maximum of £9,000, the statisticians suggested.

Of the 48 per cent who went to university, 16 per cent were at a “top third” institution, with one per cent at Oxbridge and 11 per cent at a Russell Group institution. In comparison, 60 per cent of privately educated students went on to study for a degree, with 46 per cent going to a “top third” institution. Within this, five per cent were at Oxford or Cambridge, while 37 per cent were at a Russell Group university.

More pupils studying past 16 went on to university from Yorkshire than across the rest of the country.

Figures show 58 per cent of Yorkshire’s post 16 pupils went into higher education compared with 56 per cent across England . Fifteen per cent of students in Yorkshire went on to Russell Group universities. The tables show variations in the numbers going to top universities across the county.

Kirklees, which regularly has the best A-level results in Yorkshire, saw almost one in five pupils (19 per cent) going to Russell Group universities.

In North Yorkshire the figure was even higher at 21 per cent and in Sheffield it was 24 per cent - almost one in four sixth formers.

Only six per cent of pupils from Yorkshire on free school meals - which is used as a measure of poverty - went to Russell Group institutions compared with a national average of eight per cent and none went to Cambridge or Oxford Separate figures looking at the destinations of teenagers at 16 show 91 per cent of pupils nationally were in education, employment or training after completing their GCSEs, up from 89 per cent the previous year (2011/12). In Yorkshire this figure was slightly lower at 89 per cent in 2012/13. Figures show that pupils who are from deprived backgrounds in the region are almost twice as likely to be unemployed after they finish school at 16 than their peers.

Schools minister David Laws said: “It is crucial that parents have access to the information that lets them judge how well schools and colleges are preparing young people for the future.

“The data show many examples of schools - including those in the most deprived parts of the country - which are ensuring their pupils are moving on to meaningful destinations.

“The figures are hugely satisfying, with thousands more pupils going on to further education, training or employment.”