i News reports that as it stands, the poorest pupils in England are lagging more than two years behind their wealthier peers by the time they come to sit their GCSEs, the study states.
The research, published by think tank the Education Policy Institute, shows that the most persistently disadvantaged pupils – those that have been in receipt of free school meals for 80 per cent of their school life – are lagging even further behind.
The attainment gap between the least and most well-off pupils has increased by 0.3 months since 2007. On average, the poorest pupils fall behind at a rate of two months for every year they are in school.
The report warned that while there was evidence of progress, there were still huge variations in the size of the educational gap in different parts of the country. The biggest divide was in the Isle of Wight where the poorest children leave schools two and a half years behind their peers.
Other areas showing little progress include Derby, Cumbria, and Knowsley where the attainment gap stood at 27 months. At the opposite end of the scale, more successful areas were the likes of Southwark, Wandsworth and Tower Hamlets where the gap is just 7 months.
“Schools work hard to enhance the life chances of all children but they cannot compensate for poverty and inequality alone. Avis Gilmore, the NUT’s Assistant General Secretary, said. “Government is responsible for ensuring families have jobs, homes and enough to eat – these are the prerequisites for children’s learning.”
Not surprised at the results? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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