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Britain 'suffering from education divide'

22/07/2011 Joanna
There are "huge" disparities in educational achievement across Britain, new research has revealed.

A study by the University and College Union (UCU) ranked more than 600 parliamentary constituencies in Britain according to the proportion of people with qualifications.

It was revealed that in some areas, such as Glasgow East and Birmingham Hodge Hill, more than a third of adults have no qualifications.

This compares to just two per cent of people in Brent North and Romsey.

It was revealed that adults in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central are almost twice as likely to have no qualifications than people in Neighbouring Newcastle-upon-Tyne North.

Overall, the percentage of adults with no qualifications in England is 11.3 per cent, compared to 13.3 per cent in Wales and 12.3 per cent in Scotland.

Commenting on the findings, UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said there are "two Britains" living side by side – one with qualifications and one without.

"Education is central to our country's future, yet in some places thousands of people still have no qualifications. There is a real danger that children growing up in certain areas will have their ambition blunted and never realise their full potential," she explained.

"The government needs to urgently revisit its education policies if we are to really offer improved life chances to all. Introducing fees for people on benefits who wish to study, for example, is incredibly counterproductive. We should be encouraging people to strive for qualifications, not pricing them out."

The UCU expressed concern that the places with the lowest levels of qualifications are likely to be affected the most from the coalition government's policies that "restrict education".

These include the decision to axe education maintenance allowances and the decision to triple tuition fees, the UCU said.


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