Educational disadvantage: How does England compare?

By Jerim, J., Greany, T. & Perara, N.  (Education Policy Institute)

In the third and final report from the Education Policy Institute and the UCL Institute of Education, the authors investigate the socio-economic gap in secondary school pupils’ academic achievement. Using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 dataset, the report investigates the academic performance of pupils that are eligible for free school meals (FSM) in mathematics and reading in comparison to their peers, and compares England’s performance with other OECD countries.

The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in England’s Maths GCSE is found to be equivalent to one whole GCSE grade. Performance in reading is slightly higher than in maths, as the gap between FSM pupils and other students is around three-quarters of a GCSE grade. In comparison with other OECD countries, Estonia and Japan demonstrate a relatively small socio-economic gap while China and Singapore show a much higher gap in general.

Access the findings.