Joseph Rowntree Foundation report highlights the link between poverty and poor school results
Scottish children from low-income families are already educationally behind those from high-income backgrounds by the time they reach primary school, a new report reveals.
At all ages and stages in a child’s school career, there are interventions which can be made to break the cycle of low attainment
Lower attainment in literacy and numeracy is linked to deprivation throughout primary school. By the time of pupils being in their second year at high school, for example, those from better-off areas are more than twice as likely to do well in numeracy.
By 16, attainment has risen overall but a significant and persistent gap remains between groups. Children from poorer backgrounds also more likely to leave school early and without qualifications.
Written by researchers from Strathclyde University, Closing the Attainment Gap in Scottish Education calls on the Scottish Government to provide clear guidance about how to use policy to close the attainment gap and insists schools should be informed of what the gap is in their establishment.
Jim McCormick, Scotland adviser at JRF, said: “Scottish education serves many children well, but too many poor children risk becoming poor adults unless we close the attainment gap.
“At all ages and stages in a child’s school career, there are interventions which can be made to break the cycle of low attainment. Closing the attainment gap must be a higher priority for everyone concerned with education in Scotland."
The report was backed by children’s charities. Jackie Brock, Children in Scotland’s chief executive, welcomed the focus on ways to reduce the attainment gap.
Neil Mathers, head of Scotland at Save the Children added: “Given that the achievement gap exists before children even start school, it’s essential to create opportunities at an early age.
“Support with good-quality early learning and childcare needs to be made available to those families who need it most so their children can have the best start possible, instead of beginning school already behind their peers.”