The percentage of students from state funded schools heading to university has fallen according to the latest Government figures.

Data showing the destination of key stage 4 and 5 pupils in 2012-13 released today showed 48 per cent went into higher education compared to 53 per cent in 2011-12.

The reason behind the dip in numbers says the Government is probably down to the increase in tuition fees that year.

The Department for Education has issued the report – released six months earlier than previous cohorts – showing the destination of GCSE and sixth form/college students in 2012-13 after they have finished their studies.

Destination measures are increasingly being seen by the Government as key to assessing how well schools and colleges prepare their students to make a successful transition into the next stage of education or training, or employment.

A total of 551,180 Key Stage 4 students were included in the latest data with 88 per cent choosing to remain in education.

The figures show 40 per cent of girls went on to a school sixth form whereas 32 per cent head to a further education college. For boys the figures are evenly split between the two – 36 per cent.

Meanwhile, just over half of students – 52 per cent – from pupil referral units at Key Stage 4 were recorded as being in a sustained education, employment or training destination the year after.

The data also shows of those independent schools included in the data, 93 per cent of Key Stage 4 went on to a sustained education, employment or training destination.

Students included in a specific category must show they remained in their “destination” for all the first two terms of the year after completing their GCSE or A Level or other level three qualifications.