The difference in educational attainment between better-off pupils and more disadvantaged children has grown larger over the last decade according to new findings.
Research organisation the Education Policy Institute (EPI) analysed government data. They looked at “persistently disadvantaged” youngsters and compared them to these to their more comfortable peers at secondary school. Disadvantage was defined via entitlement to free school meals for 80 per cent of their time in school.
According to the EPI, by the time poorer children leave school, they lag more than two years behind other pupils in their academic achievements. The precise figure – 24.3 months – is an increase of three months since 2007.
EPI director for social mobility and vulnerable learners Jo Hutchinson said:
“Our research finds that the most persistently disadvantaged pupils in England have fallen even further behind their peers, with their attainment gap at the end of secondary having grown since 2007. At the current rate of progress, it would take a full 50 years to reach an equitable school system where disadvantaged pupils did not fall further behind their peers between the ages of five and 16.”
The Isle of Wight had the largest ‘attainment gap in the country the EPI found – two years and five months.. By contrast, three London Boroughs – Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Wandsworth – have the lowest: just seven months.