John Woodcock MP has raised concerns in Parliament after his Barrow and Furness constituency ranked lowest in the country for school leavers going to university.

Mr Woodock will now meet with education secretary Damien Hinds and universities minister Chris Skidmore after latest figures released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service revealed only 15 per cent of school leavers in the area were making the step up.

His question in Parliament comes after deputy principal of Furness College, Mark Nicholson said the statistics were “not reflective” of how many students actually achieved degrees, which were not counted by UCAS.

He said the figures did not count the number of students who enrol directly onto degree courses at the institution.

In Parliament Mr Woodcock said: “We are really proud of our apprenticeship scheme, but a generation of talent is being lost to the country because of this.”

Responding to the MP, Mr Hinds said he would meet Mr Woodcock and that universities should be the ones to reach out to students to improve the figures.

He said: “I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question and he is absolutely right that we all need a blend in our local areas - apprenticeships, further education and higher education.

“I will just mention, though, that universities these days have very large sums of money available for access and participation plans, and they should be reaching out into all communities, including in Furness, to make sure that all children have the opportunity to make the most of those if they can.”

The figures from UCAS ranked school leavers in Furness bottom of the list for the latest application cycle.

Previously Bristol South had the lowest rate in the country.