MORE Reading students are heading to Oxford or Cambridge University than pupils from anywhere else in England, new figures reveal.

But 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.

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Department for Education data shows that 37 of 610 students who finished their 16 to 18 study in Reading in 2015-16 secured a spot at one of the two world-class institutions within two years.

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At 6 per cent of all students, this was the highest rate of school leavers in England to gain a coveted place at one of the universities.

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

Reading’s Oxbridge students formed part of the 36 per cent of college leavers in the area who went to one of the 24 leading Russell Group universities – also the highest rate in England.

And impressively, the area also claimed the highest proportion of students (47 per cent) to enter one of the top third most competitive institutions, ranked by the average exam results of entrants.

Overall, 415 students in Reading (68 per cent) went on to study a degree or equivalent course within two years.

Across England, 58 per cent of young people who finished their compulsory education in 2015-16 spent at least six months on a degree or similar course within two years – 214,000 students.

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 – while Reading held the best record for Russell Group places, the figure for students from Knowsley, in the North West, was just 1 per cent.

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