Regional differences influence school leavers' chances of going to university

Where a teenager lives heavily influences their chances of going to university, according to new research.

London school leavers are around 25% more likely to go into higher education than their peers across England, new Ucas data has revealed.

Around a third (33.3%) of 18-year-olds in England started studying for a degree this year, however there are significant regional differences.

The capital boasted the highest university entry rate, where more than two fifths of 18-year-olds (41.8%) were accepted on to degree courses.

"This means 18-year-olds from London were more likely than 18-year-olds anywhere else in England (and the UK more generally) to be accepted into higher education this year," Ucas said.

The South East had the second highest entry rate, at 33.7%.

Every other English region had entry rates lower than the overall nagional rate, Ucas figures show.

The region with the lowest proportion of school leavers going on to university this year was the South West at 28.9%.

This means that 18-year-olds in London were around 44% more likely to go on to study for a degree this year than those studying in the South West.

Across the UK, the figures are: North East, 30.3%, North West 32.9%, Yorkshire and the Humber 31.6%, East Midlands 30.3%, West Midlands 31.6% and the East of England 32.9%.

Northern Ireland boasted an entry rate of 34.5%, in Wales it was 29.4% and in Scotland 25.9%.

"A common theme to emerge from our analysis of data from the 2017 cycle is that the entry rate of 18-year-olds to higher education has increased across all parts of the UK," said Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive.

"This trend is most pronounced in London. There have been significant and much documented improvements to secondary education in the capital. Understanding how to replicate this high level of attainment could help drive increases in entry rates elsewhere."