A major new report from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission calls on schools to do more to improve exam results for poorer children.
It shows that overall results for disadvantaged children remain shockingly low but that some schools in highly disadvantaged areas have cracked the code on how to improve social mobility. They are successfully challenging the decades old assumption that wealthier children will naturally excel while poorer children do not, and that deprivation need not be destiny– and weaker schools can learn from them.
The Cracking the code report demonstrates that:
- The best performers are helping 3 times as many disadvantaged children to achieve 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths as schools with similar levels of disadvantage. In the best performing schools, 60% of disadvantaged children achieve 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths compared to only 25% in the lowest performing.
- If schools closed half the gap in performance to the top 20% of schools with similar concentrations of disadvantage, over 14,000 more disadvantaged students would get 5 good GCSEs each year. To put that in perspective, in 2012-3, around 61,000 disadvantaged children got 5 good GCSEs, so this would mean that almost 25% more disadvantaged children would be achieving at this level if the gap was closed.
The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, the Chair of the Commission, said:
“Social mobility in Britain is low and is stalling. Nowhere has this been more apparent than in education. It has long been known that there is a massive gap in attainment between advantaged and disadvantaged students. This research has unearthed a new and shocking gap in performance between similar schools serving similar communities with similar intakes of poorer pupils.
“But some schools are proving that deprivation needn’t be destiny. They have cracked the code on how to improve social mobility by helping disadvantaged children to excel in education. If some schools can do it, there is no excuse for others not to.
“By following the lead of the code-breakers schools can transform the lives of tens of thousands more disadvantaged children.”