Maps reveal full picture of GCSE North-South divide

Richard Vaughan

News article image

The full extent of the attainment gap between GCSE students in the North of the country and the South has been revealed in a series of new maps. 

An analysis of schools' provisional attainment figures by education data firm, SchoolDash, has shown how 15- and 16-year-olds in the South East and South West are outperforming their peers in the Midlands northwards.

map of GCSE attainment

The maps show the percentage of students hitting the government's headline GCSE measure of five A* to C grades including English and maths. The higher the percentage of pupils achieving the benchmark, the bluer the colour; the lower the figure, the more red it is.

According to the provisional data, published last month, 4.7 percentage points more students managed to gain the five good GCSE target in the South than in the North. 

The figures show that the gap has widened in recent years, with students in the South, particularly in London, far outstripping their counterparts in the North. The map below shows the attainment gap was 2.8 per cent in 2013 compared with 1.8 per cent in 2012.

map of GCSE results 2015

Perhaps most interesting, however, is that the divide grows once students enter secondary school. As the map below shows, the attainment gap between the North and South all but disappears when looking at key stage 2 results from 2014. Both the North West and North East perform particularly well when looking at Sats results.

map of key stage 2 results

The data would appear to lend more credence to Ofsted's concerns about key stage 3, particularly outside the capital.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

Latest stories