EPI report: ‘Educational disadvantage: how does England compare?’
April 27, 2018
Last Thursday, the Education Policy Institute published a report which compared educational disadvantage in England against that in other ‘high income’ countries.
The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in maths in England is equivalent to one whole GCSE grade. This puts England in 27th position compared to 44 similar jurisdictions (meaning that its gap is higher than the average.) In reading, England do slightly better and have a gap of three-quarters of a GCSE grade which is around the average of the other countries in the report.
The report included recommendations for changes to English policy and practice in order to share the features of high performing and high equity nations:
Avoid segregation, selection and setting as schools which serve disproportionate numbers of disadvantaged pupils are less able to counter the effects of that disadvantage than schools with more balanced and comprehensive intakes.
Attract, support and retain high quality teachers. 45% of English headteachers identify teacher shortages as the biggest obstacle to improving outcomes. The “situation in disadvantaged schools is more acute - since these schools generally face greater recruitment challenges and have higher levels of turnover than other schools”.
Funding needs to be responsive to levels of disadvantage. England fares relatively well compared to other countries through measures such as the pupil premium, but vigilance is needed as the new national funding formula will redistribute some funding away from disadvantaged pupils