Divergent pathways: the disadvantage gap, accountability and the pupil premium
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Jo Hutchison, Sir John Dunford and Mike Treadway

Analysing trends in the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils over the last ten years, this report considers what more can be done to improve the achievement of children from the poorest families.

The authors suggest that there is considerable variability between schools with differing pupil intakes when it comes to trends in the progress gap, which measures how far disadvantaged pupils fall further behind their peers during school. The analysis uncovers divergent pathways followed by schools with different contexts.

Significantly, the authors found that primary and secondary schools with low proportions (less than eight and ten per cent respectively) of disadvantaged pupils have failed to close the gap over the past ten years. In primary schools with less than eight per cent disadvantaged pupils, the progress gap has more than doubled from 1.1 months in 2009 to 2.6 months in 2015.

Around 40% of the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is present at age five, which the authors suggests supports the need for more to be done before formal schooling in order to address educational inequality.

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Jo Hutchison, Sir John Dunford and Mike Treadway

Published by:
Education Policy Institute

Date of publication:
July 2016

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This report considers what impact social mobility policies have had over successive years, examining different contexts, and the performance of different types and phases of schools. It may be useful to policy makers and leaders of schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils.

Secondary data analysis.


Record ID:
R302 / 406
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