Sheffield GCSE pupils are two years behind their peers, report finds

Disadvantaged pupils in Sheffield are almost two years behind their peers by the end of secondary school, according to a new report.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 08:00 am
Louise Haigh, MP, pictured, has said 'it’s a tragedy that so many children from poorer families are being left behind'. Picture: Marie Caley

The Education Policy Institute found that 23.5 per cent of children leaving reception, 35.8 per cent children leaving primary school, and 29.1 per cent of children leaving secondary school fall into the disadvantaged category.

The organisation defines disadvantaged pupils as those who have been eligible for free school meals in any of the past six years.

Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, has said: “Education is what empowers us to realise our full potential and it’s a tragedy that so many children from poorer families are being left behind.”

Nationally, disadvantaged pupils are now, on average, over 18 months behind non-disadvantaged pupils by the time they leave secondary school. This problem is getting worse with the ‘disadvantage gap’ having increased 0.2 months over the last year.

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Pupils with special educational needs are the furthest behind and those with the greatest needs are, on average, 40 months behind their peers by the end of secondary school.

There are large geographical variations to these figures too as disadvantage gaps are larger, and are growing, in the north.

The problem is acute in Sheffield where disadvantaged children are, on average, already five months behind their peers at age five. By the end of primary school, disadvantaged pupils are almost eleven months behind and almost two years behind by the time they finish their GCSEs.