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Pupils: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL13845, tabled on 2 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Education Policy Institute, Measuring the disadvantage gap in 16–19 education, published on 1 March; and what steps they are taking to reduce the A-Level attainment gap of disadvantaged students.

Answered on

16 March 2021

Promoting good educational outcomes for disadvantaged children and young people is a key priority for the government. We carefully consider evidence that helps to achieve this and will take note of the findings of this report by the Education Policy Institute.

This report concludes that, while there is a gap in attainment between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged young people by age 16, this gap widens further in 16-19 education. We already have specific initiatives to support the attainment of disadvantaged children and young people at each stage and will continue to seek to improve the effectiveness of these policies.

The national funding formula (NFF) for schools provides significant extra funding for schools that have more pupils with additional needs, using measures of deprivation and low prior attainment. Through the NFF in financial year 2021-22 we will provide a total of £6.4 billion targeted at schools with higher numbers of pupils with additional needs, including deprivation.

Since 2011 we have also been providing extra funding - £2.4 billion this financial year alone - through the pupil premium for school leaders to narrow the disadvantage attainment gap for young people before they turn 16 and enter college or sixth form.

The NFF for 16-19 year olds includes extra funding for disadvantaged students which is provided to institutions specifically for students with low prior attainment, or who live in the most disadvantaged areas. In academic year 2020/2021, we have allocated over £530 million to enable colleges, schools and other providers to support, attract and retain disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds and to support students with special education needs and disabilities. We show separately how well disadvantaged students are achieving at 16-19 in published school and college performance data, to encourage a focus on helping these young people make the best possible progress.

We encourage schools and colleges to use the most effective approaches to support the attainment of disadvantaged young people and set up the Education Endowment Foundation to gather and disseminate evidence on this.