Department of E analysis of economic value of closing regional attainment gap
December 22, 2017
The Department of Education released statistics last Wednesday which estimated the economic benefits of reducing regional attainment gaps (the difference in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and others) to the size of the gap which currently exists in London. The statistics focused on attainment at GCSE, and London was used as the benchmark because it has the smallest attainment gap in England.
The data revealed that 45% of London’s disadvantaged boys, and 52% of the city’s disadvantaged girls, achieved five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and Maths, whereas the figure in all other regions was under 32% for boys and under 42% for girls. This led to an attainment gap in London of 21 percentage points, compared to over 30 percentage points in other regions.
From these figures, the report claimed that closing regional attainment gaps to the level in London would equate to around 125,000 more disadvantaged pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades at GCSE, including English and Maths. The effect would be an economic benefit of around £12 billion across the lifetime of the individuals analysed.
These figures underline the continued challenges faced by disadvantaged pupils but also the benefits of mitigating these challenges in economic terms, and the possibility of doing so. . This is important for governing boards as they have a duty to ensure that their school is using pupil premium funding to raise the educational attainment of certain disadvantaged pupils.