AROUND one in eight Bradford students go on to study at one of the UK’s top third of universities – below the national average.

Social mobility charity the Sutton Trust warns that someone's chances of going to a top university, which it says is the surest route to a good job, differs significantly depending on where they grow up.

Department for Education data shows that 378 students who finished their 16 to 18 study in Westminster in 2015-16 went to one of the competitive institutions within two years.

Universities are ranked in the top third by the average exam results of entrants.

At 13% of all students, this was lower than the national rate – 20% of students across England secured such a place.

The figures only include those from state-funded schools and colleges who did A-level or equivalent qualifications, and who continuously studied at university for at least six months.

In Bradford, 12% of school and college leavers went to one of the 24 elite Russell Group universities, considered to be among the UK’s best.

This included less than 0.5% who studied at world-class Oxford or Cambridge, while overall, 1,917 students in Bradford (66%) did a degree or equivalent course within two years.

Across England, 58% of young people finishing their compulsory education in 2015-16 had spent at least six months on a degree or similar course within two years – 214,000 students.

This included 14% with a Russell Group place, and just 1% at Oxford or Cambridge.

But the figures differed widely throughout the country – 36% of students in Reading, in the South East, went to a Russell Group university, while the number for Knowsley, in the North West, stood at just 1%.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “Getting a degree from a leading university is one of the surest routes to a good job.

“Yet these figures tell us that where you grow up has a significant impact on your chances of going.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said that while the number of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who go to university has increased, it is still a lot fewer than those from wealthier groups.

He added: “The next government – whoever it is – must ensure that schools and colleges have the funding and supply of teachers they need to support these students.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “As a government, we have seen a record rate of disadvantaged 18 year olds going to university, and we have made it a priority to ensure that we continue to improve access and participation across the country.”