There are lots of families in my immediate area – most of the children go to the clutch of state schools within a mix of catchment areas. There are also some fine independent schools dotted around, apparently affordable so not in the same league as the Eton, Harrows, Marlborough Colleges, but still a step up. The only thing that really differentiates which school a good student went to is their uniform and a certain confident air coming from one or two in the fee paying sector. The take up of top university places from the small independent schools is still the same, they coach students to take and pass the entry papers as a matter of course and others go on to a career in the military. Very few third sons drift automatically toward the church these days!
My point is that each child can go to whichever university they want, they just need to know how to prepare as early as they can!