Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Attainment Gap between Rich and Poor GCSE Pupils; Those from Less Wealthy Homes Two Years Behind Their Peers

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Attainment Gap between Rich and Poor GCSE Pupils; Those from Less Wealthy Homes Two Years Behind Their Peers

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@Trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

CHILDREN from poorer families are more than two years behind those from richer backgrounds in terms of educational achievement by the time they sit their GCSEs, a new study has revealed.

And the problem is worst in rural areas including Northumberland.

The huge gap in achievement was revealed in a study by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) which looked at differences between pupils who spent the majority of their time at secondary school eligible for free school dinners - a key measure of poverty - and those who did not.

|In Northumberland, they were 26 months behind by the age of 16, one of the largest gaps in the country; |In Newcastle they were 21 months behind; |In Gateshead they were 23 months behind; |In North Tyneside they were 18.1 months behind; |In South Tyneside they were 20.2 months behind; |In Durham they were 19.6 months behind; |And in Sunderland they were 21.8 months behind.

The findings show that children from disadvantaged homes start to fall behind at an early age. At the age of five, Northumberland pupils from less wealthy families are 4.3 months behind other pupils. And by the age of 11, the gap is nine months.

Researchers used Government statistics for 2016 to examine the average performance of poorer pupils and that of their richer peers.

Across all state secondary schools, including special schools, "persistently disadvantaged" children - those eligible for free meals for 80% of their time at school - were 24.3 months behind their wealthier classmates nationwide.

Based on mainstream secondaries alone (excluding special schools), the gap has widened by 0.3 months since 2007, from 23.1 months to 23.4 months.

The report also shows the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils generally, for all types of state secondary school, now stands at 19. …

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