PROVIDING more places to study A-levels in Portsmouth will increase the number of young people going to university, the city council’s former education cabinet member has said.
As reported in The News yesterday, Portsmouth has the lowest proportion of students going to university in the country, according to figures released by the Department for Education.
Just 28 per cent of students go on to study for a degree.
Councillor Rob Wood, who is now the opposition’s spokesman for children and education, said there should be more sixth form colleges in the city, as the figures don’t include those students who live in Portsmoouth but studied at places outside of the local authority like Havant College or South Downs College.
‘It’s obviously disappointing that we aren’t higher up in the table – that goes without saying,’ he said.
‘We have tried to do quite a bit in making sure that those pupils who live in Portsmouth don’t have to go out of the area.
‘The problem is that quite a few of them go to colleges outside the area.
‘Quite a few of the secondary schools are looking at having a sixth form.’
Charter Academy in Southsea is opening the first sixth form in the city this September.
Cllr Wood added: ‘We have more sixth form capacity in the local area.
‘Quite a few of the schools are looking to increase their capacity.’
The figures showed that one per cent of state school pupils from Portsmouth go on to Russell Group universities such as the University of Southampton, which are seen as the best in the UK.
No state school students went on to the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.
Deborah See, executive director of Highbury College, said a lot of young people are choosing to study vocational courses.
‘It’s important that young people in the city are aware of the different pathways into higher education.
‘A student coming to Highbury College could choose to study A-levels at our sixth form academy, but they could equally choose to do one of our BTEC or apprenticeship programmes.
‘Higher apprenticeships now offer exciting opportunities for young people in work who wish to study at university level.
‘Young people’s aspirations need to be raised from an early age, hand-in-hand with the right career advice about the different pathways into higher education.’