The attainment gap is widening
On the 6th February, the Department for Education reported that the divide in GCSE results between young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and their better-off peers has widened – for the second year in a row. Our evidence suggests that, with two terms of support, Action Tutoring pupils can match the national pass rate and close that gap. Read the full story.
What is the attainment gap?
It’s the difference in academic attainment in English and maths for school children, depending on their socio-economic background. This gap means that disadvantaged young people across the country are not getting the fair education and support they need to fulfill their academic potential. Action Tutoring volunteers invest their time and skills to close this gap and make education fairer.
How many young people have a private tutor?
The Sutton Trust reported following a recent poll that “27% of 11–16 year olds in England and Wales have had private tuition at some point.” The figure is higher in London: as much as 41%. Perhaps unsurprisingly, pupils receiving private tuition disproportionately come from better-off backgrounds.
To combat this inequality in academic support, the Sutton Trust has recommended that schools provide pupils with more small-group tuition as part of their Pupil Premium spending – which is what the team and our volunteers at Action Tutoring are all about. Read the full story.
Resit pass rate in maths and English drops
Back in January, thousands of young people picked up their results for GCSE maths and English resits. The overall pass rate for pupils resitting dropped compared with last year. As the government requires pupils to resit their maths and English GCSEs until they are able to achieve a pass, this means that those who missed out will have to sit the papers again in the summer. Read the full story.
Could higher pay keep teachers in the profession for longer?
In January the Department for Education made recommendations suggesting this could be the case. Crucially, keeping good teachers for longer benefits the most disadvantaged pupils, partly because it’s hardest to retain teachers in schools that serve more disadvantaged communities. About twice as many teachers in these schools will leave to teach elsewhere compared with those from the least disadvantaged schools. Read the full story.
More related stories you may find interesting…
- Sutton Trust reported on impact of recent reforms to GCSEs (including tougher exams and no coursework) on increasing the disadvantage attainment gap.
- Social Mobility Commission published its annual report based on a survey of 5,000 people – 77% of people believe there’s a large gap between social classes.
- New government scheme to make free period products available in all state-funded schools in England.
“Having periods should not be a barrier to education for any learner. Making learners aware of the scheme is vital to making sure they can access period products when they are needed and to reducing the stigma surrounding periods.”
- Over a quarter of children and young people referred to a mental health specialist last academic year were not accepted for treatment.
“Given the evidence that mental illness is a key obstacle to social mobility through poor academic attainment, a more ambitious programme to reduce the burden of mental illness is necessary to ensure that all children, regardless of background, have access to opportunity.”
Update on Action Tutoring policy work
Action Tutoring aims to engage politicians and policy makers in the work carried out by its volunteers in the community and the barriers to a fair education that exist. In January, CEO, Susannah Hardyman, met with Nottingham North MP Alex Norris in Westminster. He has been hugely supportive of the work underway across the city and will be visiting one of our school programmes in early April. We look forward to engaging more local leaders in the efforts of our team, volunteers and pupils.