Camden’s stark education divide exposed

�A stark disparity in educational attainment exists in Camden, with nearly twice as many residents in the south of the borough being without qualifications compared with those in the north.

More than 10 per cent of residents in the constituency seat of Holborn and St. Pancras do not have a qualification, whereas this figure lies at just 5.5 per cent in Hampstead and Kilburn, according to new statistics from the University and College Union.

The research reinforces the view that educational achievement is often split along class and gender lines, with many of the poorest wards in the lower-achieving south.

Women are also more likely than men to be among the educational ‘have nots’.

However, this trend was bucked in Hornsey and Wood Green where eight per cent of men are without a qualification – marginally higher than the 7.6 per cent of women.

A Camden Council spokesman warned against assuming that the educational divide reflected a disparity in the performance of schools in the north and south, because people move in and out of the borough.

He said: “Camden has a number of initiatives to support residents with gaining qualifications. With one of the UK’s top 100 apprenticeship programmes, we support hundreds of adults into training, every year.

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“We have also recently launched a unique Education Commission to help improve educational opportunities for children and young people. In addition, with our new, �320,000 demonstration fund we are continuing to invest in improving the education, employment and life opportunities for people in Camden.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “There are two Britains living side by side – one with education, and the massive personal benefits it can bring, and the other without.

“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.

“Introducing fees for people on benefits who wish to study, for example, is incredibly counterproductive.

“We should be encouraging people to strive for qualifications, not pricing them out.”