Short term FSM pupils risk becoming underachievers

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Children who receive meals for one year average a D at GCSE, according to a study by education data analysts, FFT, reports the Guardian.

According to the research, children who qualify for free school meals for just one year become 'invisible underachievers' who receive little government support but achieve similar results to those who remain on free school meals during their entire school career.

The report found that the group makes up around 7% of year 11 pupils, meaning that almost 40,000 students suffer similar levels of deprivation but receive fewer of the benefits, in most cases because their household income is just above the £16,000 threshold.

Those who received FSM for only one year average a D grade at GCSE – only slightly above those who are on the meals continuously, but almost a grade lower than pupils who have never received them.

The report also found that the impact of economic disadvantage is more pronounced in white, working-class pupils. Pupils from minority ethnic groups receiving FSM achieve nearly one grade lower than their peers who have never been eligible for support. But white pupils trail their peers by more than one and a half grades at GCSE if they are eligible for FSM during their education.

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