The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has published a major report, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, on the disadvantage gap in education.
“The disadvantage gap” – the gap in grades between disadvantaged students and their peers – is a leading measure of social mobility in England and an indicator of the government’s progress in reducing inequalities in education.
The report examines the gap in 2020 at a national level, across different regions and local authorities, among varying levels of disadvantage, and at two stages of education – key stage four and five.
The research offers the first comprehensive picture of the impact of 2020 grades on different students – the year that saw the first switch to teacher assessed grades.
The study finds that:
- The gap in GCSE grades between students in long-term poverty and their better off peers has failed to improve over the last ten years.
- More students have now fallen into longer-term poverty.
- Fears that the switch to teacher assessed grades for GCSEs in 2020 would penalise students from disadvantaged backgrounds are largely unfounded – with no evidence poorer GCSE students lost out under this system.
- But for students in college and sixth form (16-19 education), the gap in grades between poorer students and their better off peers widened in 2020.
- This was driven by A level students gaining a whole grade more from teacher assessments than those who studied qualifications such as BTECs.
The full report can be accessed here.