Last week, the Social Mobility Commission has published its State of the Nation: 2018 to 2019 report revealing that the school attainment and income gap between those that are well-off and those that are not has remained stagnant for the last four years.
Looking specifically at education, the report demonstrates how the gap between those from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds widens as pupils go through school. In summary, the report outlines that:
by the age of five, 26% of pupils from a non-disadvantaged background, compared to 43% of pupils from a disadvantaged background, do not achieve “a good level of development”
by the end of year one, there is a 14 percentage point phonics gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils
by the end of year six, only 46% of disadvantaged pupils reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths compared to 68% of non-disadvantaged pupils
at A-level, only 16% of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSMs) achieve two or more A-levels compared to 39% of their peers
The report made a number of recommendations to government to address the disparities between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils, including extending provision for free childcare and introducing pupil premium funding for disadvantaged pupils in further education.
Those governing are reminded that understanding the needs and requirements of disadvantaged pupils is key for effective governance.