Nicola Woolcock covers Sutton Trust research on highly able pupils in an article for the Times.
Almost half of children who are bright but poor and excel at primary school fail to go on to get top grade GCSEs, according to a new analysis.
The Sutton Trust education charity found that a class gap had already opened up by the end of primary school. Only 4 per cent of poorer children were in the top 10 per cent academically, compared with 13 per cent of their wealthier classmates.
Even the disadvantaged children who achieved the highest grades in primary school fell behind by the time they took their GCSEs, the report said.
Of the high achievers at primary level, 52 per cent of the poorest ended up with at least five A* and A grades at GCSE, compared with 72 per cent of their better-off classmates. If they had fulfilled their potential, 1,000 more children from disadvantaged families would have got top GCSEs each year.
The trend had an impact on grammar school entry. Poorer, bright pupils were half as likely as high achievers overall to enter a selective school — one in 17 compared with one in eight.