Coronavirus: MPs to examine impact on poor white pupils

Call for evidence on the effect that coronavirus is having on the academic achievement of disadvantaged white pupils

Catherine Lough

Teachers are being left to plug the gaps left by 'poor parenting', MPs told

An influential cross-party group of MPs is launching an inquiry into the underachievement of poor white pupils during the coronavirus outbreak.

Robert Halfon, chair of the Commons Education Select Committee, said: "The outbreak will have a particularly heavy bearing on those from disadvantaged groups.

"It is, therefore, vital that we continue to work to ensure they are properly supported, and remain absolutely determined that this unprecedented national crisis does not set back efforts in tackling the social injustices faced by too many groups."

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The committee is calling for submissions of evidence on the extent of poorer white pupils who are eligible for free school meals underachieving, and how well Department for Education measures such as Progress 8 capture this.

The impact of coronavirus on disadvantaged pupils

It is also calling for evidence of how the coronavirus epidemic is impacting this group.

The call for evidence will run alongside continuing work on how the coronavirus is affecting the education system and its impact on the most vulnerable in society.

"There is a worrying trend of white pupils from poorer backgrounds underperforming compared with their peers. Such gaps in learning seriously limit young people’s potential to get on in life and more must be done to tackle this very real social injustice," Mr Halfon said.

"While our initial focus is on white working-class pupils, we will not forget other disadvantaged groups and the committee will be looking across the board at those being left behind.

"At this difficult time for families, everything possible must be done to ensure the most disadvantaged children do not fall off the education ladder of opportunity completely.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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