Poor children twice as likely to fail their Maths GCSE than those from richer areas

Pupils from the poorest areas are nearly twice as likely to fail their Maths GCSE compared to their peers from the richest areas, new figures show.

Two in five (38 per cent) of pupils from the poorest postcodes last year failed to get at least a grade 4 in the subject, which is considered by the government to be a “standard pass”.

For those from the richest postcodes, the figure was 20 per cent.

The research was carried out by the teacher training organisation, Teach First.

Attainment gap

The pattern of children from schools in the poorest areas lagging far behind those in the richest areas was repeated across all the GCSE subjects which Teach First looked at. In Geography 50 per cent of disadvantaged children failed to reach a grade 4, compared to 27 per cent of the richest pupils.

In Biology, 15 per cent of the poorest pupils did not reach a pass. This was three times the proportion of richer pupils (5 per cent) failing to get a pass.

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Disadvantaged students were also much less likely to get the top GCSE grades. In maths, just 13 per cent of the poorest pupils achieved the top three grades of 9, 8 and 7, compared to 26 per cent of the richest pupils.

Ahead of tomorrow’s GCSE results, the data throws into stark relief the gap in attainment between children from poor and rich families.

Russell Hobby, Teach First’s chief executive, said: “A child’s postcode should never determine how well they do at school, yet today we’ve found huge disparities based on just that.

Young people held back

“Low attainment at GCSE is a real cause for concern, as it can shut doors to future success and holds young people back from meeting their aspirations.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said that the government had narrowed the gap between poorer children and their peers since 2011.

They added: “The Prime Minister has committed to increasing school funding so we can level up all parts of the UK and close the opportunity gap.”

“We will continue to drive up school standards right across the country, and do more to continue to attract and retain talented individuals in our classrooms as well as giving teachers the powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying.”

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