Russell Hobby, the chief executive of the education charity Teach First, which carried out the research, said: “A child’s postcode should never determine how well they do at school, yet today we’ve found huge disparities based on just that. Low attainment at GCSE is a real cause for concern as it can shut doors to future success and holds young people back from meeting their aspirations.”
Two in five pupils (38%) from the poorest one-third of postcodes fail GCSE maths, nearly twice as many as those from the richest third (20%), according to the analysis.
Children from deprived backgrounds are also less likely to be awarded top grades. Just 13% of the poorest pupils attain either a 7, 8 or 9 – the top three grades under the reformed GCSEs – in maths, compared with 26% of their more advantaged peers.
In English it is 11%, compared with 22% of wealthy students, and in French 15% of poorer pupils get top grades, compared with 27% of those from the most advantaged backgrounds.
In geography, 50% of disadvantaged children fail to get a level 4 – a standard pass – compared with 27% of the richest pupils.
As with maths, 38% of the poorest pupils fail to pass GCSE English, compared with 22% of the richest. Almost half (46%) of the poorest pupils fail history, compared with 27% of the wealthiest, while 16% of the poorest get the top grades, compared with 31% of the richest.
The findings, based on the government’s underlying key stage 4 results data for 2018, also show that 41% of young people from the poorest communities fail to pass French, compared with 26% of their wealthier peers.Similarly, pupils from wealthier backgrounds are almost twice as likely to get top grades, with 27% of them getting either a 7,8 or 9, compared with 15% of the poorest.