SOUTHAMPTON is among a list of the worst areas in the country for getting students into Oxford and Cambridge, a new study has revealed.

Just two or fewer state-educated students from the city schools secured places at the country’s two top universities between 2015 and 2017, according to a report.

That puts Southampton in line with the likes of Rochdale, Salford and neighbouring Portsmouth, as one of the worst performing areas in the UK.

The study, from social mobility charity The Sutton Trust, also revealed eight of the UK’s top schools get as many students into Oxbridge as three-quarters of all schools and colleges put together.

Those eight schools, which were not named, sent 1,310 pupils to Oxbridge over three years.

Over the same period, 2,894 other schools sent just 1,220 students between them.

The trust said high levels of additional, specialist support at independent schools could explain why they dominated Oxbridge admissions.

The Sutton Trust said action was needed to address the “patchwork of higher education guidance and support”.

Founder Sir Peter Lampl said: “All young people, regardless of what area they grow up in, or what school they go to, should have access to high-quality personal guidance that allows them to make the best informed choices about their future.

The Russell Group, which represents 24 leading UK universities including Oxford and Cambridge, said it was working hard to improve social mobility.

Chief executive Dr Tim Bradshaw said: “We want to recruit students with potential and drive, regardless of background.

"There has been progress in recent years but today's research underlines that this remains a big challenge.

"The root causes of under-representation are complex and solving them is a shared social mission, bringing together universities, schools, families and the Government."