What effect, if any, does disadvantage have on school children?
All pupils, whether advantaged or disadvantaged, tend to do worse in schools where there are a large number of disadvantaged children. In a school with a majority of advantaged children, all children do better. It doesn’t matter if an individual child is advantaged or disadvantaged – all are more likely to gain higher grades when in a school with a majority of advantaged children.
The ideal school system, therefore, would be one where every school had a majority of advantaged children. But this is not always possible and is likely to be unpopular with parents especially if children have to be bussed around. However, the Government will need to address this problem of disadvantaged schools and not just judge them as “failing” because their results are not as high as those of more advantaged schools. The Pupil Premium which gives extra money to schools for each pupil eligible for free school meals is a step in the right direction.