A Fair Education

The Fair Education Alliance is a coalition of organisations from education, charities and business. Together, the Alliance is working to tackle educational inequality, building a fairer education for all by 2022.

 

This week the Alliance launched their report card, and it got me thinking.

 

Although the numbers of students that claim Free School Meals (FSM) or are eligible to claim pupil premium is a crude measure of deprivation in England it does reveal some uncomfortable truths:

 

Missing talent:

You may argue that students from deprived backgrounds are less able than their wealthier peers. Not true. This is the most depressing statistic of all:

 

15% of highly able pupils who score in the top 10% nationally at age 11 fail to achieve in the top 25% at GCSE. Analysis shows that boys from deprived backgrounds are the most likely to to be missing.

 

One in ten of the poor but clever pupils are barely achieving C grades (or doing much worse). They are lagging behind their non-FSM peers by almost a whole GCSE grade per subject.

 

Scotland is no different:

The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy found an attainment gap of 14–17 per cent for reading, 21 per cent for writing, and 12-28 per cent for numeracy from primary through to secondary school.

 

Even though overall leaver attainment increased slightly for all groups, the gap between children from the most and least deprived background remained the same. There appears to be an average of 300 points difference in the average tariff score between the most and least deprived groups at the end of compulsory schooling.

 

Using the 2009 PISA survey, research found that the brightest boys from poor homes in Scotland are almost three years behind those from the richest homes in reading. Scotland’s attainment gap in reading for boys was the highest in the developed world, comparatively worse than that in emerging economies like Chile, Turkey and Mexico.

 

Wales is worse:

The attainment of Welsh children eligible for FSM is lower than in all but six of the 152 local authority areas in England. This is unacceptable and means that too many poor children in Wales are being let down by the existing schools system. Change is urgently needed.

 

My question is this:

What can we do to help? Either individually, by school, company, or as a solution offered to governments?

Please email your views to Mark Ellis mellis@twig-world.com

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