New research released by Teach First exploring GCSE results from 2018 has revealed an achievement gap at GCSE between those attending schools in England’s most affluent areas and those attending schools in its most economically deprived areas.
In English language, 38% of the most disadvantaged pupils failed to achieve a grade 4 compared to 22% of affluent pupils, while only 11% of disadvantaged pupils got the top grades (grades 7, 8 and 9) compared to 22% of more affluent pupils. Similarly, in maths, 38% of pupils from the most disadvantaged postcodes did not achieve a grade 4 compared to 20% of those from the most affluence postcodes. Furthermore, only 13% of the most disadvantaged pupils got grades 7, 8 and 9 compared to 26% of those from more affluent backgrounds.
The findings are particularly concerning when taken alongside the conclusions of the Education Policy Institute’s (EPI) recent Annual Report. The report found that, for the first time since 2011, the gap in attainment at GCSE (measured in months of teaching) between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils had stopped closing between 2017 and 2018. Instead, the gap widened slightly meaning that disadvantaged pupils were, on average, a year and a half behind their peers by the time that they finish their GCSEs, with little evidence to suggest that the situation is likely to improve.