Eleanor Busby quotes Founder Sir Peter Lampl in an article on the latest OECD research for The Independent.
Poorer students in the UK are almost three full years behind their wealthier peers academically, a global report on social mobility has revealed.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of disadvantaged students attend schools where other children tend to be deprived – and these pupils are more likely to do worse than their peers in affluent schools.
Where poorer students attend advantaged schools, they are two and a half years ahead of those at disadvantaged schools, the study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found.
In science, disadvantaged students in the UK fall almost three full school years behind their wealthier peers by the age of 15.
oorer students are not performing as well in the UK as there are fewer high-quality teachers going into the schools serving disadvantaged youngsters across the country, a global expert has suggested.
Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education and skills, said that “poverty need not be destiny” as the poorest students in Estonia, Vietnam and Hong Kong still achieve strong learning outcomes.
And poorer students in some countries – such as Finland, Poland, Norway and Iceland – perform equally as well in disadvantaged schools as they do in advantaged schools, the OECD found.
Peter Lampl, founder of the social mobility charity the Sutton Trust, told The Independent: “It is extremely worrying to see that poorer students are almost three years behind their better off peers in science.
“Our research has shown that there is a lack of qualified specialist science teachers in state schools, and that this shortfall is disproportionately affecting disadvantaged pupils. But education gaps open up early, and the focus in early years nursery provision should be on quality and not quantity.”
He added: “High quality teaching is the most important way to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Ensuring that pupils from all backgrounds have access to high quality teaching is crucial for social mobility.
“Teachers should be incentivised to work in schools with high levels of disadvantage. School admissions processes should be reviewed so more pupils from less well-off backgrounds have access to top schools. Improving the quality of teaching in all schools is vital.”
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