It will take 50 years to close attainment gap for poor pupils, EPI says

The most disadvantaged pupils in England are two years behind in learning by the time they sit their GCSE's, research shows.

According to findings by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), the attainment gap at the end of secondary school for persistently disadvantaged pupils has widened slightly by 0.3 months since 2007.

The ‘Closing the Gap? Trends in Educational Attainment and Disadvantage’ report states that there has been some progress in closing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils on average in England since 2007, however it is closing “slowly and inconsistently”.

The report says that in 2016, disadvantaged pupils were on average 19.3 months behind their peers by the time they took their GCSEs. This means that they are falling behind by around two months each year over the course of secondary school.

From 2007 to 2016, the gap by the end of primary school has narrowed by 2.8 months and the gap by age five4 has narrowed by 1.2 months.

According to EPI, “at the current rate of progress,” it would take a full 50 years to reach an “equitable education system where disadvantaged pupils did not fall behind their peers during formal education to 16”.

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