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Jul 08 2011

Metropolitan areas dominate university admissions

There’s an interesting report on the BBC website this morning which discusses the data published by the Sutton Trust on where Universities get their intake. Unsurprisingly, the report makes much of the fact that Oxbridge applications are skewed towards particular schools and that in general, privately educated pupils fare better when it comes to gaining admission. I think we knew most of this already.

However, there’s some interesting data tucked away in table 12 of appendix 2 of the trust’s report which doesn’t seem to have been widely reported. This table shows the proportion of state educated pupils going into higher education by local authority. So far, I’ve only been able to eyeball the data rather than do a proper analysis, but to me it seems to provide an even more stark illustration of the gaps that have appeared in our society. And it’s the metropolitan areas which appear to be benefitting from better life chances at the expense of all other areas (towns, cities, districts and shires) of England.

17 of the top 20 best performing local authorities come from the large metropolitan areas (around London, Manchester and Birmingham). Only Reading, Stockton and Poole buck the trend. If you look at the bottom twenty, there are only 4 metropolitan areas represented, with 6 or 7 shires and 8 or 9 towns/cities filling the remaining bottom 16 places, depending on how you classify them.

And we are comparing like with like here – these are all state educated pupils.

In the government’s quest to enable better social mobility, the gap between the metropolitan areas of England and the rest needs to be considered too.

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