The gap between poor pupil’s attainment at the end of primary and at the end of secondary school has widened according to a new government report.
Reseach by the Social Mobility Commission shows that since 2012, poor children are making less progress year on year than more affluent children.
The report finds that poor children aren’t finishing school with the qualifications that the need to succeed.
Issues with family life, home-work and access to computers and cultural and sporting experiences are cited by the report. For example, poorer children are almost always sharr a room with another sibling, making it difficult to have a homework routine.
Ethnic minority children are making better progress at secondary school than poor white children. It is suggested that poorer white pupils are receiving less support from their parents.
Any progress that has been made during primary school, is being wiped out in secondary school.
The report isn’t all bad news in that pupils from low income families are mostly likely to make progress in secondary schools that focus on them by setting and sharing high expectations of pupils.
The report makes a number of recommendations for both the government and secondary schools.
A key recommendation for government is to “Ensure funding cuts do not exacerbate the problem of poor pupils failing to make good progress at secondary school.”
The Social Mobility Commission also wants the government to “halt plans to increase selection to prevent further segregation of pupils from low-income backgrounds” and advises that “head teachers should develop a school culture of universally high expectations and promote practices that support those expectations.“
Because poorer pupils are doing better when a school focuses on their needs, it is tempting to group those pupils together so they can be helped, but the report also says that pupils being segregated by grade has a negative impact.
Why parents of poorer White children are giving less support, needs to be investigated further.
It is clear that poverty in general causes all sorts of social problems that has a knock on effect.
Pat Harrington, Director of the Third Way think-tank commented:-
“Those who work in education want pupils to do well. Our education system, however, is failing many pupils. It’s not just the education system, however. Education doesn’t exist in isolation but is realted to home life, culture and economics. If we are to improve things we need to take a holistic view and structure our systems accordingly. This goes for a number of areas and not just education. It’s one of the key things that is holding our country and people back.”