Poor students lag two years behind wealthy classmates by the time they sit their GCSEs

According to the Education Policy Institute (EPI), class disadvantage has become “firmly entrenched” in some regions of the UK and attempts to close the gap have “slowed significantly”. The Huffington Post reports.

The EPI on Wednesday published its annual report on the state of education in England which showed, “overall, there is little change in the gap in school attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers” and that with the most “persistently disadvantaged” pupils, there has been no narrowing at all in six years.  

Jo Hutchinson, director of social mobility and vulnerable learners at the EPI, said the findings were of “great concern” as more vulnerable students are particularly reliant on access to support services – and will be disproportionately affected by the growing financial pressures in our schools”.

The institute said poor pupils in several areas of the north east are trailing their peers by as much as two years by the time they reach the end of secondary school. 

In parts of the south, such as the Isle of Wight, Luton, Greenwich and Dorset, the gap has worsened since 2012, as well as in parts of the Midlands, including Derby and Telford and Wrekin, the report notes.  

But the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Islington and Hackney – areas with large proportions of persistently disadvantaged pupils – all bucked the trend, with students performing just as well as areas with very few poor pupils, such as Surrey and West Sussex.

The EPI found that the rate of closure in “the key GCSE English and maths gap” between disadvantaged pupils and their peers had “slowed significantly” since 2014 and would now take well over 100 years to close at its current rate.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It is no coincidence that the rate at which the secondary attainment gap is closing has slowed over the past five years at exactly the time when schools are facing the twin crises of inadequate funding and severe teacher shortages.”

Read the full article Poor students lag two years behind wealthy classmates by the time they sit their GCSEs

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