School, neighbourhood, and university

the geographies of educational performance and progression in England

David Manley, Ron Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a vast amount of discussion in both the media and academic literature about the effect of increased tuition fees on access to higher education in England, especially in relation to efforts to implement widening participation programmes. During this debate, the geography of access to higher education has taken a back seat despite growing calls to use contextual data in higher education applications to account for at least some of the presumed spatial disadvantage that is experienced by individuals from less affluent backgrounds. Within this context we use recently released educational performance school data to investigate the composition of higher education access, paying specific attention to the geographical location of the schools from which university applications come and controlling for different school types, school catchment composition and the education environment of the students. The data are analysed within a multilevel modelling framework; the differences between regions in England and between schools according to the class composition of their catchment areas form the main findings. These not only resonate with conventional wisdom on university access but also offer a new perspective on patterns of, in effect, educational relative advantage and disadvantage that are clearly embedded within the country's geography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259–282
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Multilevel modelling
  • Neighbourhood
  • Region
  • School performance
  • University access

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'School, neighbourhood, and university: the geographies of educational performance and progression in England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this