PUPILS who go to university from schools which perform below the Scottish average do just as well on degree courses as those from above average schools - even if they have fewer A grades at Higher.

Researchers from St Andrews University in Fife found students with three As at Higher from a "below average school" performed as well at the institution as those with four As at Higher from an "above average school". Dr Laurence Lasselle, a senior lecturer in economics from St Andrews, will discuss the findings todayat a conference on widening access at Edinburgh University - part of a series of events run by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Another presentation will highlight the fact Scottish universities are still dominated by the middle classes, despite a recent expansion of places. Dr Cristina Iannelli, an education sociologist from Edinburgh University, said the expansion had led to opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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But most had secured places at "lower-status" institutions rather than the ancient universities. Her presentation states: "Education policy, on its own, cannot eradicate social inequalities. Wider social reforms are needed."