Education reforms further disadvantaging poorer students


Students from lower income backgrounds could be missing out on opportunities to study at the UK’s top universities despite education reforms, as they are less likely to take up ‘academically rigorous’ GCSE subjects such as history over schools’ fears they will not achieve high enough grades.

Reforms under Michael Gove have ‘deepened’ social divides through students’ access to the subject of history, which is seen as desirable by leading universities, new research has found.


A paper published in Research Papers in Education, from Reading and Oxford universities, used four years of data to highlight inequalities in the access to history at Key Stage 4.


The introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and attempts to make GCSEs harder to tackle grade inflation have instead resulted in a system where students with lower grades are less likely to choose history, the research found.


This could worsen social mobility as history is a subject that prestigious universities, such as Russell Group institutions, look for in applications, the authors warned.


February 2019