GCSE pupils in England outperform those in Wales

Higher levels of immigration and the distorting effects of league tables may explain why children in England outperform those in Wales at GCSEs, according to research. The Guardian reports.

The study by the Education Policy Institute found children in Wales did as well as or better than their peers in England until the end of primary school. But by the time of GCSEs at the age of 16, those in England were more likely to get grade C or above.

The new study says that one difference is that England has more than twice as many pupils from minority ethnic groups, “who tend to perform better at GCSE level”.

England’s school-age population has about 30% of pupils from minority ethnic families, compared with just 12% in Wales.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government said: “Of course we are committed to raising standards and aspirations for all young people. This is why we are delivering the biggest education reform programme anywhere in the UK.”

The report suggests that performance tables in English schools, used by the government as a means of assessment, may play a part in the difference.

“Evidence suggests Wales’s abolition of school league tables reduced GCSE performance relative to England, but some of this might have come through greater incentives in England to use vocational qualifications to boost league table positions,” the report states.”

The researchers plan further studies “to uncover the relative importance of family background and schools in explaining these cross-country differences” between Wales and England.

Read the full article  GCSE pupils in England outperform those in Wales

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  1. Anonymous

    There needs to be a much deeper study of reasons for this before any policy decisions are made. For example, what proportion of 16 year olds are actually entered for GCSE in each country and what are the comparable figures on off rolling in Wales and England. As some research has shown, thousands of children in England are off rolled so that they do not appear in a school’s results – yet another effect of academisation and fragmentation.

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