Inequality in education

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Education is becoming increasingly important with the level of qualifications held increasing in all occupations; more people are going into higher education and, therefore, the number of jobs in higher level occupations is on the rise. However, research has found that children are being disadvantaged from as early as 11 years old based on their location and family income.

Research performed by the Social Market Foundation (SMF), states that those living in the North East, West and East Midlands have underperformed in comparison to those who live in London. This data suggest that 70% of London students achieve 5 or more good GCSEs compared to the 63% living in Yorkshire and Humber.

The research stretches to parental income, with results suggesting those who are entitled to free school meals underperform when compared to those that don’t. Results state that only 40% of students that receive hot dinners are attaining A*-C in their GCSEs whilst 70% of those that don’t are achieving grades A*-C.

These are factors that are also affecting children later on in life: the more you know, the more you’ll earn. Over a lifetime, a graduate from a Russel Group university will earn up to £371,000 more than someone who left school with less than 5 good GCSEs.

Lack of attainment in education could also be linked to the increase in child depression. With education being closely linked to happiness and mental health, those who leave education early can fall to depression and poor mental health due to a lack of confidence and self-worth.

Whilst it’s clear that there are regional disparities that need to be urgently addressed, there’s no quick fix. In the meantime, schools can help overcome the attainment gap by working in close partnership with parents and local councils to ensure they’re doing all they can to give children the best start in life – regardless of the postcode lottery.

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