17/02/2017 13:57 GMT

Teenagers Up To Four Times Less Likely To Apply To University Depending On Where They Live

Education experts have called for an end to the attainment gap.

Teenagers in some parts of the UK are almost four times less likely than their peers to apply to university, new figures have revealed. 

Press Association analysis of UCAS data suggests a youngster’s chances of applying for a degree course heavily depends on where they live. 

In Havant, a town in Hampshire, just 17.4% of teenagers apply for university - the lowest level in the UK.

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Teens in some parts of the UK are four times less likely to apply to university

According to 2011 data, Havant is home to four of the top 10 most deprived Lower Super Output Areas (LSOA) nationally. LSOAs are geographic areas used to report statistics.

At the other end of the scale, a whopping 70.3% of young people in Wimbledon, south London, send off applications.  

Guardian analysis of 2013 figures found that only 1.5% of the population of Wimbledon is made up by benefit claimants - much lower than the 3.8% UK average. 

Education experts have called for more support and summer schools for clever students in low application areas to combat this attainment gap. 

The data indicates that young people in Tory seats are slightly more likely to apply than those in Labour constituencies - though both Havant and Wimbledon have Conservative MPs. 

The average application rate across 328 Tory constituencies was 38%, compared with 34% across 231 Labour seats.

London was the area with the highest rate of applications in England at 47%, while only 32% of young people in the south west apply for university. 

While the vast majority of constituencies have seen a rise in applications since 2007, 13 are seeing fewer youngsters going to university than they were a decade ago - including the Cities of London and Westminster, Bristol West and Nottingham South.  

Chelsea and Fulham in west London saw the biggest jump in university applications in the past ten years, increasing from 41% to 65%.  

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Experts say 'disadvantage is deeply entrenched in our society'

Nicola Dandridge chief executive of Universities UK, said an advisory group set up last year to look at application rates had acknowledged that “disadvantage is deeply entrenched in our society”.

“While the economic and social position of a student’s family has the greatest impact on their access to university, the geographical location of where they live is also increasingly being recognised.

“While there are no quick and easy solutions, the report recommended that universities should work even more closely with schools and colleges in a range of ways.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said application rates for 18-year-olds and poorer youngsters are at record levels.

“The reforms we are bringing in through the Higher Education and Research Bill will mean even more people can benefit from a university education,” they said.

“As well as placing a duty on the Office for Students to ensure institutions do more to attract students from every background, we have also invested £120 million in the National Collaborative Outreach Programme to help young people get the opportunity they deserve to study at university.”