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Education report

The number of students attending UK´s universities has declined

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The proportion of students from state schools who started a full-time course in one of the top 24 universities fell slightly between 2002-3 and 2011-12.

The report argues that universities need to take account of "the growing evidence base that students from less advantaged backgrounds tend to outperform other students with similar A-level grades on their degree".

The commission estimates that 3,700 state-educated students miss out annually on a place at universities belonging to the Russell GroupThe Russell Group represents 24 leading UK universities that includes Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the London School of Economics and Imperial College. Of those who got in, both the proportion of entrants who were state-educated and the proportion from less advantaged social groups were lower in 2012 than in 2002.

The result is that 126 fewer students from the most socially disadvantaged backgrounds went to Russell Group universities in 2011-12 than in 2002-03.

Although the total estimated number of state school pupils entering Russell Group universities increased by 1,464 between 2002 and 2011, a rise of 2.6%, almost half the new places created over the past decade have gone to the privately educated: the number of privately educated students entering these institutions increased by 1,426, up 7.9%.

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