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Gap grows between rich and poor children attending good schools

Teach First finds that those from the poorest backgrounds are now more likely to be enrolled in a school rated as less than good compared to 2016.  

Today, when children across the country find out which secondary school they will attend next September, analysis by Teach First has found that those from the poorest backgrounds are more likely to be heading off to a school rated as less than good compared to 2016.

  • Poorest children today are more likely to attend a school rated less than good compared to May 2016 - while the richest are more likely to attend an outstanding one   
  • An extra 30,000 poorer children – who could fill Wembley arena more than twice – now attend a school rated as inadequate or requires improvement compared to 2016
  • Charity issues warning for the Government not to become "distracted" during the Brexit negotiations and urgently address this growing inequality 

The education charity has found that 35% of children from the poorest postcodes currently attend a school rated as inadequate or requires improvement, which has increased from 28% in 2016. This amounts to an additional 30,000 children from poorer backgrounds.  

When it comes to the wealthiest postcodes only 8% of young people currently attend a school rated as less than good, which has remained unchanged over the last three years. This shows that the gap between children from the richest and poorest families has grown in recent years.  

This growing gap can also be seen when comparing how many young people attend an outstanding school: 

  • 17% of children from the poorest backgrounds currently attend a school rated as outstanding, which has fallen from 22% in 2016 
  • 44% of children from the richest backgrounds currently attend an outstanding school, which has increased from 40% in 2016

This means that today children who live in the country’s poorest postcodes are four times more likely to attend a school rated as less than good compared to those from the most affluent postcodes - and are less than half as likely to attend a school rated as outstanding.  

The charity is therefore warning that while we negotiate to leave the European Union the Government does not become “distracted” from addressing “important domestic issues that require urgent attention”.   

Russell Hobby CEO of Teach First said:  

"We understand that negotiating our exit from the European Union requires significant resource. But we must not let this distract us from important domestic issues that require urgent attention." 

"It is deeply concerning that in recent years we’ve seen an increase in young people attending schools rated as less than good – and it’s those from the poorest background that have been hit the hardest. It is only through investing in our young people – and providing every child with an outstanding education - that we will have a workforce ready to take on whatever shape the post-Brexit landscape will take."

Previous analysis by Teach First found that in the years ahead, the British economy is expected to experience a shortage of 3 million workers to fill 15 million high skilled jobs. By contrast, there are likely to be 5 million more people with ‘low skills’ than jobs they are equipped for.  


For interview request, media enquiries or case study requests, contact the Teach First media team or call 07834 924 165.

This analysis is drawn from Ofsted management information data 

About Teach First

Teach First is a charity with the vision that no child’s educational success is limited by their socio-economic background. It believes that the scale of change needed is so great it requires a movement of leaders to make a difference at a pupil, school and system level.    

Working with universities, schools and businesses, Teach First is working towards achieving its vision by enabling its participants and ambassadors in the classroom to raise the achievement, aspiration, and access to opportunity of children from low socio-economic backgrounds, whilst developing a network of leaders with a life-long commitment to ending inequality in education from both inside and outside the classroom.   

Teach First currently operates in Wales and in all regions across England: London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire the Humber, North West, North East, South East, South Coat, South West and the East of England.    

Trainees commit to a minimum of two years at their partner school, where they teach a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) timetable; and around half stay on for a third year. 56% of all the teachers we’ve trained since 2003 are currently teaching - with a further 12% working directly in education.    

Their 13 month Initial Teacher Training starts with the unique five-week Summer Institute which provides trainees with intensive preparation for teaching in their school. Trainees then complete both their PGCE training year and their first year as an NQT in their school.

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