Attainment of pupils from poor backgrounds shockingly low

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The educational attainment of those from poorer backgrounds in England is still shockingly low, according to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

Only two in five disadvantaged teenagers achieve five GCSEs at grades A* to C, compared with more than two-thirds of children overall, according to the report.

But the report argued that some schools didn't follow this trend, with pupils at one in nine English secondary schools achieving better results than the national average for all children. Therefore if other schools closed this gap, even by half, about 14,000 additional disadvantaged students would achieve the benchmark five GCSEs at grades A* to C every year - equating to a 25% improvement.

However, Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "There are no simple answers to tackling disadvantage, and attacking schools will not solve deep-seated issues of social inequality."

Reseachers surveyed 1,100 teachers, finding most had high expectations of disadvantaged pupils - although 21% said some colleagues had low expectations.

The report is one of a series on how different parts of society can improve social mobility and urges teachers to raise their expectations of pupils from poorer backgrounds.

School Leadership Today
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