Commenting on The most able students, a new report from Ofsted, Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said today:
“Today’s report demonstrates an urgent need for more dedicated provision for the highly able in state schools. Ofsted is right to describe the situation as ‘especially disappointing’; too many of our brightest students are being let down.
“Our research shows that England compares poorly with other countries in its provision for the highly able and our brightest students are failing to make the most of their talents. Only half as many pupils in England achieved the highest level in Maths as the OECD average. We found that high achieving boys from the most advantaged family backgrounds in England are roughly two and a half years ahead of their counterparts in the least advantaged households by the age of 15.
“We need to establish an effective national programme to support our highly able children particularly those from low and middle income backgrounds so that they have the stretch and breath they need to access the best universities and the best careers.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Sutton Trust is a foundation set up in 1997, dedicated to improving social mobility through education. It has published over 150 research studies and funded and evaluated programmes that have helped hundreds of thousands of young people of all ages, from early years through to access to the professions. For more information visit suttontrust.com.
- In the Sutton Trust Mobility Manifesto, published in September 2014, one of the policies the Trust recommended was the development of an effective national programme for highly able state school pupils, with ring-fenced funding to support evidence-based activities and tracking of pupils’ progress. The full Mobility Manifesto can be accessed here.
- In addition to its university access work, which reaches 3,000 sixth form students a year, the Sutton Trust currently works with around 500 highly able young people aged between 11-16 providing two years of activity designed to boost attainment and provide enrichment for comprehensive school students in top 10 per cent of the ability range. The programme is run in partnership with Cambridge University, University College London, Warwick University and Nottingham University, and is financially supported by the Wolfson Foundation, the Sofronie Foundation and anonymous donors.
- Two Sutton Trust reports have highlighted weaknesses in the attainment of highly able students in England. The Reading Gap (2013) showed that high achieving boys from the most advantaged family backgrounds in England are roughly two and a half years ahead of their counterparts in the least advantaged households by the age of 15. Educating the Highly Able (2012) found that in PISA tests only half as many pupils in England achieved the highest level in Maths as the OECD average.