Commenting on data on Key Stage 4 performance released today, Sir Peter Lampl, founder and Chairman of the Sutton Trust and Chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation, said:

“Today’s results reveal that the pandemic has reversed a decade of progress in the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their classmates. The gap is now back at levels last seen 10 years ago. 

“The results paint a worrying picture for pupils finishing secondary school. There is clear evidence that the disruption they’ve faced over the past two years has had a major impact on their learning.

“Today’s data adds to the overwhelming case that there has to be a step change in what is done to enable young people to recover from the pandemic. The government needs to step up to the challenge immediately. There is no time to lose.”


  • The first KS4 (GCSE) data based on exams post-pandemic shows that a decade of progress in narrowing the attainment gap has reversed.



  • 49.6% of all pupils achieved grade 5 or above in English and mathematics, a 6.4 percentage point increase since 2018/19. The average attainment 8 score was 48.7, a 2 point increase since 2018/19. (Note – grade inflation this year was set at a mid-point between 2021 and results pre-pandemic).
  • The attainment gap for pupils achieving grade 5 and above in English and maths has widened. The gap was:
    • 25.2 percentage points in 2018/19
    • 27.3 percentage points in 2021/22
  • The gap has also increased for Attainment 8:
    • 13.6 points in 2018/19
    • 15.1 points in 2021/22.

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