LESS than half of students in Bracknell go on to high education courses such as university - well 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 359 students who finished their 16 to 18 study in Bracknell Forest in 2015-16 went on to study a degree or similar course within two years.

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At 45 per cent of all students, this was much lower than the 58 per cent of school leavers across England to continue to higher education.

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

In Bracknell Forest, 18 per cent of students went to one of the top third most competitive universities, ranked by the average exam results of entrants.

This included 10 per cent who got into one of the 24 elite Russell Group universities, considered to be among the UK’s best.

And 1 per cent of all students secured a coveted place at Oxford or Cambridge.

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

This included 20 per cent at a top third destination, 14 per cent with a Russell Group place, and just 1 per cent at Oxford or Cambridge.

But the figures differed widely throughout the country – 36 per cent 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 per cent.

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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-old's going to university, and we have made it a priority to ensure that we continue to improve access and participation across the country.”