Commenting on new research published today by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission suggesting that more than 2,000 children from disadvantaged backgrounds who get excellent results in tests at age 11 are missing out on places at top universities every year because they fall off course during secondary school, Conor Ryan, Director of Research at the Sutton Trust said:
“The Sutton Trust has previously identified 3000 young people with the grades to go to top universities, but not applying or not getting places at them. Today’s new report suggests a further 2000 able young people are losing their way in secondary school even though they have the ability to gain excellent A-levels.
“It is vital we do more to support highly able children from low and middle income backgrounds in state schools. With the demise of the gifted and talented programmes, too many schools are not doing enough to stretch and encourage students with the potential to succeed.
“Sutton Trust research has shown that the top 500 comprehensives take half the national average of disadvantaged pupils, often because they only take those pupils who can afford higher house prices nearby, and that grammar schools miss out on many able pupils from low income backgrounds.
“We need to open up our best comprehensives and grammars, with fairer admissions and outreach policies, and we need to ensure that admission to leading independent day schools is based on ability not ability to pay, if we are not to lose out on the talents of thousands more bright youngsters.”