FSM pupils half as likely to get three As, and three other key points from today's A-level data

16th March 2017 at 11:46
A levels
First Department for Education breakdown of A-level attainment data by pupil characteristic also shows nearly a quarter of students from a Chinese ethnic background got three As or better

The government publishes a breakdown of attainment for pupils with different characteristics at GCSE, but in the past it didn't do so at A level.

That changed today, when figures for A-level attainment across different pupil groups was published for the first time as part of the statistical release for 16 to 19 attainment.

Here’s what the figures tell us.

1. Free school meals pupils half as likely to get three As

Pupils eligible for free school meals are half as likely to get three A grades or better, according to the statistics.

Only 4.9 per cent of students eligible for free school meals got three A grades or better in 2015-16, compared to 11 per cent of their peers who were not eligible for the meals.

2. A-level attainment varies considerably for different ethnic groups

Nearly one quarter (23.9 per cent) of pupils identified as being from a Chinese ethnic background achieved 3 A grades or better, compared to 10.7 per cent of pupils identified as White British.

For pupils of Asian ethnicity 10.1 per cent achieved the measure, although there was significant variation for different groups. Pupils with an Indian ethnic background had much higher attainment (13.7 per cent getting 3 As or better) than those of Pakistani (6.7 per cent) or Bangladeshi (6.2 per cent) background.

Pupils of Black ethnicity experienced the lowest outcomes, with 4.7 per cent getting three As or better.

3. Pupils with SEND who have a statement have higher attainment than SEND pupils without one

For special educational needs, the statistics show that those with a SEND statement are more likely to achieve three As or better (8.2 per cent) than those without (6.4 per cent).

4. But the impact of English as a first language is marginal

In 2015-16, pupils with English first language achieved better results than those with English as an additional language, but the difference was small by comparison with other characteristics. 

Of the 155,283 pupils with English as a first language, 10.8 per cent achieved three As or better, compared to 9.2 per cent of the 27,290 pupils with a first language other than English. 

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