A Bradford school has been praised by the Government for helping its poorer children into sought-after apprenticeship schemes.

More than a fifth (21 per cent) of children on free school meals at Thornton Grammar School, Bradford, leave with a place on an apprenticeship, new figures from the Department for Education reveal.

This places the school joint fourth in the country.

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School and Sports College in Calderdale was also praised. It secures apprenticeships for 22 per cent of its pupils on free school meals, placing it joint second in the country, the figures show.

Nationally, only five per cent of GCSE pupils and three per cent of A-level students land apprenticeships. The figure is the same for those on free school meals and those not receiving free school meals.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are raising the quality and status of apprenticeships so they are on a par with academic courses.

“Today’s figures demonstrate what schools and colleges can achieve when they work hard to get their students onto apprenticeships.”

Apprenticeships are among the work-creation schemes being supported by the Telegraph & Argus Foundation For Jobs campaign, which we started earlier this month to bring the issue of unemployment - and, more importantly, employment - to the fore.

We are working with key industry, private sector and public sector organisations and individuals to create hope for the future by creating work experience and apprenticeship opportunities for young people.

And last week a new Apprenticeship Hub was started in Bradford.

The hub will support businesses through the process of recruiting the right apprentice.