15-25 ENYAN Disadvantaged pupils ‘falling further behind’, study finds

Analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that children defined as “persistently disadvantaged” – those who are entitled to free school meals for 80 per cent of their time at secondary school – are on average more than two years (24.3 months) behind their peers in terms of academic achievement by the end of secondary school, an increase of 0.3 months on figures recorded for 2007.

The study also found that progress has been made in narrowing the attainment gap for “disadvantaged” pupils, defined as those who are entitled to Pupil Premium funding, but it warns that this gap is closing “slowly and inconsistently” – despite considerable investment and targeted intervention programmes by the government.

While the overall gap for this group has narrowed by three months since 2007, much of this gain is made in primary school. The analysis found that, during secondary school, disadvantaged pupils fall behind their peers at a rate of around two months per year.

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