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ASCL response to EPI report on disadvantage gap

Commenting on the Education Policy Institute (EPI) report about the education disadvantage gap, Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:

This report makes for grim reading and should be sounding alarm bells in Whitehall.

The fact that the gap in GCSE attainment between disadvantaged students and their peers has not only stalled but widened slightly is likely to be the result of severe financial pressures which have forced schools to cut back on the individual support they are able to provide to students, as well as cuts to local services for vulnerable families and young people.

Students facing the greatest challenges are particularly at risk of falling behind at a time when they face an extremely demanding set of exams and are likely to be going through changes in their own lives.

Schools and colleges are utterly committed to closing the disadvantage gap and they are doing everything they can to improve the life chances of young people from deprived backgrounds. But they need more backing from the government in the form of sufficient funding and more investment in local services.

We have to be more ambitious as a nation about closing the disadvantage gap, and ASCL is keen to work with the government on how we can improve progress on this vital issue.”

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