Tim Farron MP has today urged the government to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who remain less likely to go on to higher education than their wealthier peers according to recent government statistics.
The figures show that across Cumbria, only 13% of students who were eligible for free school meals at the age of 15 went on to Higher Education, compared to 36% of those who were not. For the most selective higher education institutions, the difference is even more stark - just 1% of pupils who had been eligible for free school meals went on to attend such institutions, compared to 10% of pupils who weren't eligible.
Tim Farron noted that last year the pupil premium, introduced by the Liberal Democrats during the coalition, had helped to provide over £15 million of additional funding in Cumbria directed at 13,030 pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. Tim praised this policy, but added that it was clear that more work was still needed.
Tim said: "These figures show the challenge that students from more deprived backgrounds face when competing with their better-off peers.
The government must not overlook the reality of rural deprivation in areas such as Cumbria, and must continue to look at what more can be done to improve the life chances of poorer students."
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