Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Ashley Dalton, has called for an end to educational inequality ahead of GCSE results day this week.
Labour analysis of Ofsted data has found that the poorest students in England are nine times more likely to be in secondary schools rated inadequate than their wealthiest peers. They are also half as likely to be in an outstanding school. Nationally, the wealthiest students consistently attend outstanding and good schools – with only 2% in schools that are rated inadequate.
In the East of England, just 3% of the most deprived attend an outstanding school, compared to 42% of the least deprived. Last year, a report by the Fair Education Alliance found Britain’s poorest children are more than a year behind their wealthier peers by the time they sit their GCSEs.
Looking specifically at last year’s GCSE results paints a picture of sharp inequality between high schools in the local area. On average, 54.1% of students at Southend high schools achieve a grade 5 or above in English and maths at GCSE. However, there is wide disparity between local schools. At some schools, 98% of students achieved a grade 5 or above in the two key subjects, whereas at others only 17% of students received grades at this level. Ashley Dalton said:
This Tory government has created a crisis in education funding that has led to a cruel lottery when it comes to access to quality education.
Worse, it is children from the most deprived backgrounds that are most likely to attend schools where funding pressures have eroded teachers’ ability to support students to reach their full potential.
As a parent and a governor of a local school, I know how hard children from all backgrounds here work to get the best grades they can. I also know teachers are striving to support every child to learn to the best of their ability.
But there is only so much young people and their teachers can do when faced with slashed resources. The government must urgently review its spending decisions in education and reverse the damaging cuts that are putting our children’s livelihoods on the line.
Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for education, said:
No child should be held back from reaching their potential because of their background. “The next Labour government will invest in a National Education Service, giving our schools the funding they need to raise standards and improve outcomes, so every child gets the education they deserve, regardless of their background.