Before the leaders’ debate, read this on attainment

(c) Herald

By stewartb

If you plan to listen to the leaders’ TV debate this evening, reflect on what follows when an inevitably aggressive Douglas Ross talks over Nicola Sturgeon as she answers his predictable, context free charges the poverty-related attainment gap in Scotland. Reflect on what follows when Ross’ Unionist allies seek to make out that Scotland’s government has been exceptionally bad in not closing this gap more quickly or completely. Recall that according to Audit Scotland the gap is closing but not fast enough.

This is from the Education Policy Institute’s ‘Education in England: Annual Report 2020’

( )

The EPI finds that:

– ‘the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has stopped closing for the first time in a decade. Policymakers have not succeeded in responding to earlier reports warning of a major loss of momentum in closing the gap.

– ‘disadvantaged pupils in England are 18.1 months of learning behind their peers by the time they finish their GCSEs – the SAME GAP as five years ago. (my emphasis)

– ‘the gap at primary school INCREASED increased for the first time since 2007 – which may signal that the gap is SET TO WIDEN in the future.

‘The stalling of the gap occurred even before the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the education system.

‘Researchers have identified the increasing proportion of disadvantaged children in PERSISTENT POVERTY as a contributory cause of the lack of progress with narrowing the disadvantage gap.’

The Guardian reported on this in 26 August 2020: ‘Attainment gap between poor pupils and their peers in England is widening: study suggests gap in primary school is increasing due to rising levels of persistent poverty

‘After years of slow progress, researchers says efforts to close the attainment gap have stalled. Disadvantaged pupils are 18.1 months of learning behind their peers by the time they finish their GCSEs – the same gap as five years ago – but in primary schools the gap increased for the first time since 2007, up from 9.2 months in 2018 to 9.3 a year later.’

‘A key factor, the EPI (Education Policy Institute) says, is the rise in the proportion of pupils who live in persistent poverty, up from 34.8% in 2017 to 36.7% two years later. In some areas the GAP IS EVEN WIDER with poorer pupils in Blackpool, Knowsley and Plymouth more than TWO FULL YEARS OF EDUCATION BEHIND their peers by the end of secondary.’

So, stalled for some and getting worse for others as against closing but not by enough!

5 thoughts on “Before the leaders’ debate, read this on attainment

  1. Irelands success today in a considerably higher GDP/ Capita and massive lead in productivity increases over the UK
    Are all down to 1 thing and that was in the 1950,s The Republic despite being considerably poorer embarked upon a
    Ambitious dedicated education policy
    Which is well and truly bearing fruit today
    Results Results my dear boy That and That alone is all that matters
    End Off

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not disparaging the improvements in Irish Education, but the real reason for its “…considerably higher GDP/ Capita and massive lead in productivity increases over the UK” is their policy of offering tax advantages to global corporations i.e. Ireland becoming a tax haven for huge pan-global companies like Apple.

      It’s their massive turnovers which impact and inflate Ireland GDP/Capita stats.


  2. It simply shows a poor understanding of the role schools play in society, if you expect them to overcome the social disadvantages entrenched by almost three quarters of a century of neo-liberal globalisation and government. It is simply delusional to expect Scotland to overcome the harms caused by social injustice, if we have insufficient control over the levers of government. Especially when English Torydum is in the ascendance.

    Educational Policies
    that Address
    Social Inequality

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An American £Billionaire, ex Ireland, put £Billion into the ROI education system. Established universities. Businesses established their EU headquarters there. He was also involved in the Good Friday Agreement getting US politicians involved.

    Scotland has more universities than anywhere in the world, pro rata, 15 universities pop 5.5million. More universities students 30% from school, 20%/25% mature students, 15% EU + foreign students. Life long learning. Canada next highest 56%

    Pital is supposed to have done a deal with India. Students to come to the UK. They were chucking them out. Now travellers have to have a visa to go into Indian waters. India retaliated.


  4. The ConDems cut Education funding £6Billion a year from 2015 to 2020. Put up fees and loans in the south. Clegg reneged on promises.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.