Poorest unlikely to go to uni, Tories say

By politics.co.uk

Students from the country’s richest areas are twice as likely to go to universities as those in the country’s most deprived areas, data by the Tories has revealed.

The figures suggest that social mobility has fallen under Labour with children from disadvantaged backgrounds losing out on higher education places.

“These statistics reveal the scandal of low social mobility in Britain today,” said shadow universities secretary David Willetts.

“Going to university should be about academic ability not where you were born. Millions of pounds have been spent on widening access but we have not seen the results to match.”

Using figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the party calculated the proportion of young people who went to university between 2001 and 2005.

Despite £2.3 billion spent on opening up higher education to teenagers in deprived areas, the gap between the richest and poorest parts of the country remains.

Levels of deprivation in each neighborhood of 1,500 people were calculated using the proportion of residents on benefits.

In the poorest areas of the country, 31.9 per cent went to university compared with 59.8 per cent of young people in the country’s richest neighbouroods.

According to the figures, less than four per cent of teenagers went to university in certain areas. In Tong, Bradford, those who went to university only represented 3.7 per cent.

In Honicknowle, Plymouth, the figure was as low as 3.8 per cent against 99 per cent in Thorpe Hamlet in Norwich, one of the 360 council wards where the rate was nearing a hundred per cent.
Mr Willetts added: “Far too many school leavers from poorer backgrounds, who have similar aspirations to their wealthier peers, are simply not getting the opportunities they need to match their ambitions.

“The evidence is that social mobility is not getting better,” Willetts said.
Yet, certain disadvantaged areas still displayed high participation rates with 85 per cent of young people from the poor neighbourhood of Enfield Lock, north London going to university.

Also, some of the richest neighbouroods like Eriswell in Suffolk had only 9.7 per cent of teens having access to university, weakening the Tories’ claims.