THE proportion of young people who think they are likely to go into higher education has fallen to the lowest level since 2009, according to new research.

An IPSO Mori poll of more than 2,000 11 to 16-year-olds in academies and maintained schools in England and Wales found just 74 per cent of young people think that they are either very or fairly likely to go into higher education.

This is down from a high of 81 per cent in 2013 and 77 per cent in 2016, according to research by The Sutton Trust which said in reality more than a third of 18 and 19-year-olds will go into higher education but 'this aspirations barometer is an important indicator of young people’s expectations before they do their GCSEs'.

The proportion of pupils from ‘low affluence’ households who believe they are likely to go into higher education has fallen to 61 per cent - the lowest level for the seven years for which data is available.

Half of young people likely to go into higher education worried about the cost of higher education.

The Sutton Trust is urging the Government to reform the student funding system, means-testing fees so poorer students face lower fees and graduate debt, restoring maintenance grants and introducing a fairer repayment system.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:

"With debts up to £57,000 for poorer graduates and soaring student loan interest rates, the system is badly in need of reform."