Map plots attainment gaps of pro-Brexit areas

Brexit-backing locations more likely to have low performance in early years, key stage 1 and secondary, analysis finds

Mark Smulian

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Families in Brexit-supporting areas are more likely to get into their first-choice or a top-three choice of school than those in places that voted to remain in the European Union.

The finding has come from work by data analytics company SchoolDash, which has produced an interactive map on which various education metrics can be plotted against votes in the 2016 referendum.

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The work was part of an examination of social and educational trends across England by SchoolDash, which has previously looked at poverty, urbanisation and immigration.

SchoolDash said Brexit-supporting areas were more likely to show low performance in early years education, at key stage 1 and in secondary school attainment and progress.

By age 16, most young people in Brexit-supporting areas were equally likely to be in education or employment as those in Remain areas. But, by age 19, they were less likely to have gained level 2 (GCSE equivalent) or level 3 (A-level equivalent) qualifications.

Despite the widespread perception that poorer areas in the North of England and the Midlands tended to support Brexit most strongly, SchoolDash said that “perhaps counterintuitively”, measures of wellbeing, such as life-satisfaction and anxiety, tended to be better in Brexit-supporting areas.

However, outside London, poverty and socio-economic segregation among schools was often higher in these places.

Participation in higher education, the proportion of people with degrees and social mobility were all lower in Brexit-supporting areas than in Remain ones

Within schools, pupil-teacher ratios were worse in pro-Brexit areas and self-generated income was lower.

SchoolDash said that analysing its metric for grant funding per pupil showed London received much more than other regions and there was a positive correlation between this and attainment at key stage 2. But the effect waned when judging secondary school progress and for GCSE attainment “it seems to be absent altogether”.

Places with class sizes of 23.5-25.5 and higher clustered in Brexit-supporting areas, with all those above 25.5 being in places with substantial Leave votes.

The highest of these was Barnsley with an average class size of 26.5 and a Leave vote of 68.3%. Meanwhile, the lowest was 21.7 in Westminster, where 69 per cent voted for Remain.

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Mark Smulian

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