Ending educational inequality report

Teach First's report ahead of the General Election, calling for change to close the gap and open doors for our nation's children.

Over the past two decades, since Teach First began, great strides have been made in how we deliver education in this country.

We’ve seen an increase in the number of schools rated ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, and thanks to the phenomenal efforts of the teaching profession, the UK’s position in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) standings across different subjects has advanced significantly.

Impact studies have shown that GCSE attainment increases in departments with Teach First trainees, schools with Teach First trainees see more pupils attending top universities, and schools with a Teach First-trained careers leader are more likely to have pupils in education, work or training long term.

Yet the national attainment gap at GCSE remains stubbornly wide. An 18-month learning gap still exists between the richest and poorest young people, a seemingly difficult reality.

The gap is the educational consequence of growing up experiencing poverty. In Teach First partner schools serving the most deprived communities, the aftermath of the pandemic and the subsequent cost of living crisis has major implications.

Many schools have become miniature welfare states, stepping in to support their pupils and families with a huge range of issues including feeding hungry children, accessing social and mental health services, and providing financial support.

New research commissioned by Teach First through Teacher Tapp found that 84% of teachers had spent more time helping pupils with mental health issues over the past academic year, with 58% spending more time on social care issues and 52% giving increased attention to family/financial hardship.

Despite the recent significant investment from the Government, inflation, coupled with the demands imposed by rising hardship outside the school gates, mean that school budgets are stretched ever thinner.

New research by Teach First found that 90% of teachers expected their school to reduce spending in some way over the next academic year, up from 72% in 2022.

Read our new report that is calling for:

  1. The development and implementation of an ambitious Recruitment and Retention strategy that is fit for the future, modernising teaching as a profession.
  2. Targeted funding towards schools supporting the highest levels of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), through increasing the funding advantage for those schools.
  3. The Workload Reduction Taskforce should recommend convening a Cabinet Committee to take responsibility for the creation and implementation of a cross-departmental ‘children’s strategy’ that works towards eradicating child poverty and improving public services for young people.
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