A third of people have no qualifications in some parts of Britain, study finds

The proportion of the population without any educational qualifications is as high as one in three in some parliamentary constituencies, an analysis has shown.

July 22, 2011

The study by the University and College Union ranks 632 constituencies across Britain by the percentage of people aged 16-64 with no qualifications.

On a national scale, it exposes small differences between England (11.1 per cent), Scotland (12.3 per cent) and Wales (13.3 per cent).

But on a local scale the differences are far more marked.

For example, in the constituency of Brent North, in Greater London, which comes top of the ranking, just 1.9 per cent – or one in 50 – of the population had no qualifications.

The constituency is followed by Romsey and Southampton North in second place (2.3 per cent), then Wimbledon (2.6 per cent).

At the other end of the scale, however, is Glasgow North East, where 35.3 per cent – or over a third – of people of working age lack qualifications.

The constituency with the second worst record is Birmingham, Hodge Hill (33.3 per cent), followed by Bradford West (29 per cent).

The UCU analysis also reveals that large disparities exist within cities.

People in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, for example, are almost twice as likely to have no qualifications as those in neighbouring Newcastle-upon-Tyne North.

Of the 20 constituencies with the highest percentage of people with no qualifications, the West Midlands accounts for eight of them and has four in the top 10.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, said that the areas with the lowest levels of attainment would suffer most from recent changes in government policy, such as the decision to scrap the education maintenance allowance and treble the cap on university tuition fees to £9,000.

“There are two Britains living side by side - one with education, and the massive personal benefits it can bring, and the other without,” said Ms Hunt.

“Education is central to our country's future, yet in some places thousands of people still have no qualifications. There is a real danger that children growing up in certain areas will have their ambition blunted and never realise their full potential.

“The government needs to urgently revisit its education policies if we are to really offer improved life chances to all.”

The UCU study follows the publication yesterday of the final report to government by Simon Hughes, its university access champion.

Mr Hughes, who is also the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, made a series of recommendations, including giving schools funding to award university scholarships.

john.gill@tsleducation.com

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