Four things we learned about disadvantaged pupils’ attainment gap today

Tes reports that the attainment gap grows wider at every stage of education – but more money is not always the answer, EEF says

Today’s report from the Education Endowment Foundation revealed that “little or no headway” in closing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates is forecast over the next five years.

However, that wasn’t the only finding in the EEF report. Here are four other things we learned:

  1. The attainment gap grows wider at every stage of education – the gap in attainment is already apparent when pupils start school, but grows to 9.5 months by the end of primary school, and then more than doubles to 19.3 months by the end of secondary school.
     
  2. Small gains result in big increases in productivity and wealth – even small improvements in young people’s GCSE qualifications yield significant increases in their lifetime productivity returns and in national wealth. The EEF estimated that the lifetime productivity return for men with one or two GCSEs, compared to those with no qualifications, is estimated to be about £170,000. For women it is about £110,000. The EEF said this highlighted “the importance of continuing to focus on improving results for currently low-attaining pupils”.

Sir Kevan Collins, the EEF’s chief executive, said: “We know the attainment gap is not inevitable – in one in 10 schools disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes exceed the national average for all pupils – so secondary schools can make some important headway in boosting outcomes for the poorest students. 

“Prospects for young people who leave formal education without good grades are bleak. But every extra grade gained can make a difference to their futures, as well as to our national economy.”

Read more findings Four things we learned about disadvantaged pupils’ attainment gap today

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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