Londoners are named the most highly educated people in the country

(Chris Ison/PA) (PA Archive)
(Chris Ison/PA) (PA Archive)

Londoners are more highly qualified than people in any other part of the country new data suggests – particularly if they live in Wandsworth or the City of London.

Nearly half of people in London hold higher education qualifications classed as “Level 4” - which includes bachelor degrees, HNDs and postgraduate qualifications - according to the Office for National Statistics.

The new figures show that 34 per cent of people in England and Wales said they had a Level 4 qualification, but in London the figure was 47 per cent – meaning 3.3million Londoners have a top level qualification.

In the City of London and Wandsworth the proportion of highly qualified people was even higher, at 74 per cent and 63 per cent respectively.

The City of London was also the local authority with the lowest proportion of people with no qualifications – just 500 people in the area said they had no qualifications (6.6 per cent). Nationally almost one in five people said they had no qualifications (18 per cent).

The data was collected as part of the 2021 Census.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, said: “London is a hive of activity and a magnet for ambitious people, not only from within the UK but across the world. They create a milieu where high achievement is expected.

“Parents tend to be very ambitious for their children and demand that schools have excellent provision. This leads to the very successful results we see in the census.”

At the other end of the spectrum was the North East, where only 29 per cent of people said they had top qualifications – the lowest proportion recorded.

In the West Midlands 21 per cent of people said they had no qualifications, which is the highest level in the country.

The census results reflect how London schools have improved dramatically since the early 2000s, partly due to the London Challenge, an improvement programme that focused on schools sharing good practice.

The latest GCSE results also showed London pupils pulled further away from those in the rest of the country, with around one third of GCSEs taken in the capital given top grades compared with a quarter or less in most other regions.

Level 4 qualifications and above include BA and BSc degrees, and higher degrees such as MA or PhD. BTEC higher level is also included as are professional qualifications for teaching, nursing and accountancy.

The percentage of people in England and Wales with these top level qualifications rose from 27 per cent in 2011 to 34 per cent in 2021.