A head of sixth form has spoken of her pride after new figures show her school has one of the highest proportions of students who go on to university.

A total of 66 per cent of A Level pupils at state schools in the borough went on to university in 2010/11, according to new figures released by the Department for Education.

One of those schools, The Ursuline Academy Ilford (formerly known as Ilford Ursuline High School) in Morland Road, sent 84 per cent of sixth formers to degree courses.

That figure is higher than any other state school in the borough, and the fifth highest in England.

Margaret Warren, who has been head of sixth form, at the girls academy for seven years said: "I’m very proud. I hadn’t realised that we were sending a higher proportion of our students to university than other schools.

"We are a small sixth form and we only offer A Levels.

"Of course I recognise the importance of vocational courses, but because of our size we don’t have the finance or space to offer them as an option."

There are 180 girls at the school’s sixth form, and Ms Warren said the school specifically tailored its Personal Social and Health Education (PSHE) programme to encourage students to go on to higher education.

She said: "We have a rigorous plan in place which involves regular visits by speakers from different universities throughout years 12 and 13.

"All our girls want to go to university and I would say that since these figures were compiled that even more are going on to higher education.

"Everything is geared towards supporting them in doing that."

While the school is based in Ilford, pupils come from across the borough.

Louise Heeney, 17, lives in Wanstead.

She said: "I’m planning to do biology or engineering at uni.

"Tuition fees are a bit of a worry, but I think the best chance of getting a good job is to go to university.

"I’m hoping I can do well and pay off any debts as quickly as possible."

Fellow sixth former Ayesha Sayeed, 17, from Woodford Green, said: "We have really good teachers here.

"But I think the fact that it’s a small sixth form helps motivate you. We all push each other to do well."