UK classroom
People with low attainment are 11 times as likely to be severely materially deprived as those with a high level of educationReuters

A lack of education is the factor most likely to hold poor people back in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The official statistics body found that people are 7.5 times more likely to have a low educational outcome if their father had a low level of education, compared with having a highly educated father.

The organisation's report also found that people with low attainment are 11 times as likely to be severely materially deprived as those with a high level of education.

The ONS explained that parental education level also has the largest effect on the likelihood of low educational attainment across the other EU countries, though the extent of this transmission varies and is highest for the Southern European countries, as well as some Eastern European countries and Baltic States.

There is also a relationship between people's educational outcomes and their mother's educational level, the number of adults and children living in the household, the employment status of the parents and the childhood household's financial situation, according to the research body.

"Our research shows that poverty affects children's education in many different ways," said Helen Barnard, policy and research manager for poverty at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

"Children from poorer families tend to go to worse schools and have less access to good quality early education and childcare.

"Children and parents who live in poor quality or overcrowded housing, or have to move frequently have worse physical and mental health.

"Families on low incomes are less able to afford computers and extra-curricular activities.

"Poverty also creates stress and a higher risk of depression, making it much more difficult for parents to support their children.

The study also found that parental employment has an impact on the deprivation status.

The ONS said the odds of severe material deprivation in adulthood are almost twice as high for those whose father was unemployed compared with those who worked in a managerial role.

"There is no simple answer to social mobility, but this report lays bare just how important a role education plays in raising aspirations and giving people a fairer chance of progressing in life," said Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University and College Union.

"Poor children are far more likely to grow up to become poor adults without access to education."