Eden Heath has a clutch of top grades in her A-levels and was head girl at the south-east London school where she just finished her final year. University would seem a no-brainer for her. But like many of her friends, she thinks it is a waste of money and only plans to go as a last resort.
“University has become a back-up option for a lot of people,” she said. “Apprenticeships are a massive thing, especially in my year group . . . You come out with no debt and more experience — and you’re getting paid.”