Four-in-10 adults without qualifications in parts of UK

The Telegraph is reporting figures published by the ONS which show up to four in 10 adults in some parts of the UK have no qualifications amid concerns over a dramatic gulf in access to education between rich and poor areas…

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that the town of Strabane in Northern Ireland has the highest number of over-16s with no certified exam passes.

According to a report, some 40.5 per cent the town’s population left school without qualifications – almost double the national average and four times the rate seen in the best-educated areas.

It also emerged that more than a third of people fall into the category in 11 other towns or districts across the UK, including Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, Sandwell and Knowsley in England and Limavady, Northern Ireland.

By comparison, numbers were around one-in-10 in some areas including Cambridge and the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Camden.

These areas also contain the highest number of adults educated to degree level, with numbers topping 50 per cent in Wandsworth, Richmond, Kensington & Chelsea and Camden.

The disclosure will prompt renewed concerns over the link between social class and education, with the best-qualified districts containing large numbers of affluent communities…

Commenting on the ONS data, Prof Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: “The results show a close association between the level of qualifications and the deprivation of the area. Whether this is because of the lack of incentive to get qualifications or a deficiency in the local education system, this issue has to be investigated.

“It looks as though – from the PISA results – we are doing a lot less well as other countries at breaking the link between background and levels of educational achievement.”

The ONS used census data to analyse levels of qualifications achieved by adults across the UK combined with employment status.

It found that 27 per cent of over-16s – 13.9 million – were educated up to “Level 4”, which includes degree qualifications.

The rate exceeded the number of adults with no qualifications at all – 23 per cent or 11.9 million…

More at:  Four-in-10 adults without qualifications in parts of UK

How do you feel about these figures from the ONS? Are you surprised? Do you think it is an issue of culture and motivation or other factors and how can the pattern be broken? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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