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Deprivation is no excuse for failing schools

Frequently we hear failing schools, or Labour councils with dismal education results, claiming deprivation as an excuse. A useful challenge to this thinking is provided by Tim Leunig, of the Centre Forum think tank, was has looked at the GCSE results for children from the poorest 20% of families in the country.

The Sunday Times says (£):

Leunig and his team identified pupils from the poorest 20% of households nationally and analysed their 2009 GCSE results. While 48% in all income groups gained at least five GCSEs at grade C or above, the figure fell to just 32% for Leunig’s sample.

But among members of the lowest-income group who lived in six London boroughs — including Hackney — more than half gained the five GCSE grades. In cities such as Newcastle upon Tyne, Sheffield and Leeds, the figure was below 25%. In Knowsley, Merseyside, only 19% in the poorest group achieved at least five Cs.

So in my borough of Hammersmith and Fulham there were  51% of children from low income families who got five or more good GCSEs. Among children from the same family income bracket it was 23% in Nottingham, 19% in Hull, 19% in Knowsley and 13% in Portsmouth.

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