Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Joy for Thousands of Students - but North Still Has a Lot of Work to Do

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Joy for Thousands of Students - but North Still Has a Lot of Work to Do

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Graham Reporter hannah.graham@trinitymirror.com @HannahGraham21

Students at Queen Elizabeth High School Hexham celebrate success as the A-level results came out RESULTS day brought joy to thousands of students across the North East, with the highest proportion of A-level passes in the country and more students than ever taking up places at university.

But, in a year where the number of university entrants increased across the UK, the North East still lags behind the rest of the country in terms of how many school-leavers it sends on to higher education.

In total, 24% of 18-year-olds from the region will be off to university this autumn, up nearly 4% on the number who had secured places on A-level results day in 2012.

That compares to the UK-wide figure of nearly 27%, with London sending the highest proportion of its year 13 students to university, at just over 31%.

But a total of 98.5% of North East students passed their A-levels - meaning they gained greats A*-E - the highest pass rate in the country.

Mike Parker, Director of SCHOOLS North East, which represents 28 North East headteachers, congratulated pupils on their success, but urged Government to do more to "raise aspirations" in the region.

He said: "While this is terrific, more can and should be done to raise aspirations and ensure that 18-year-olds in the North East have the same chances at a university degree as their peers elsewhere in the country.

"Theresa May has spoken of the burning injustice of white working class boys being least likely to go to university. The Government needs to target more support in regions to break that connection."

However, he acknowledged that university does not offer the only path to success for teenagers.

Mr Parker said: "Higher education is not the 'be-all, end-all' of post-secondary

destinations, and we have seen many of our region's pupils take on terrific vocational routes, including apprenticeships with the many brilliant companies across the North East."

And the importance of more vocational routes for school leavers has been emphasised by regional business leaders. …

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