A study of test results among reception-year children being educated at home reveals that average scores among the children of partly-skilled workers are about 15 per cent higher than those of children in professional families.
Semi-professional and skilled workers whose children have opted out of school are about 4 per cent ahead of the professional group, according to results from a study by Durham University researcher Paula Rothermel.
Ms Rothermel, who has worked with 1,000 home-educating families over the past three years, gave primary performance teststo 36 of their children at the start and end of what wouuld of been their reception year if they had been educated at school.
They generally scored higher than school pupils, but, while those from professional families scored an average of 49.7 per cent in the end of the year tests. The partly-skilled workers' group scored 64.3 per cent.
Ms Rothermel said: "Parents from the lower socio-economic group are conscious of going against the grain. Professional parents are more laid-back."
There might also have been a greater fear of local education authority intervention among the working-class families. Ms Rothermel says there are now more than 50,000 school-aged children outside schools.