The gap in education outcomes between poor children and others is far too wide, says Education Policy Institute (EPI), a policy thinktank.
Its study found that in 2019, prior to the pandemic, the gap between poorer pupils and their peers was 22-23 months in Wales and about 18 months in England.
In Wales, the largest disadvantage gaps by area were as big as 25-28 months, the EPI found. In England, the largest attainment gap, of about 25 months, was found in Blackpool.
Pupils living with long-term and persistent poverty are even further behind their peers in both countries. In England, the persistent disadvantage gap was equal to about 23 months of learning, while in Wales it was 29 months. There has been almost no improvement in this measure over the last decade.
Pupils from poorer backgrounds were much less likely to reach the top quintile of GCSE scores and more likely to be in the bottom quintile across both nations.
Luke Sibieta, an EPI research fellow, said, “Policymakers in both countries need to redouble their attempts to give poorer children a better chance in life..."