Alarm as gap between rich and poor widens

29th July 2005 at 01:00
The gap between poorer and richer children's results in primary schools has grown, research by the Department for Education and Skills indicates.

But primary schools with deprived intakes have made the fastest improvements.

The findings are significant because they have helped persuade Ruth Kelly, Education Secretary, that the Government needs to shift its focus from deprived schools to deprived pupils.

"We must treat seriously the possibility that - despite all our efforts - who your parents are still affects attainment as much in 2004 as it did in 1998," she said. "We need to complement our focus on the success of institutions with one that really looks hard at how every child is doing."

The analysis indicated that schools with the highest numbers of pupils eligible for free meals saw the biggest increases between 1998 and 2004 in students passing key stage tests at 11 at level 4 or above. Passes in English tests at these schools rose by 18 percentage points compared to 10 per cent in the schools with the least deprived intakes.

The change in schools' average point scores was less striking, but still suggested the social gap had narrowed.

However, the DfES found different results when they looked at how individual children had performed.

Pupils eligible for free school meals made fractionally less of an improvement in their point scores in English and maths than others.

Ms Kelly said that the findings added weight to the Government's drive to personalise teaching, which would be a central part of its white paper on education due later this year.

leader 14

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now