I first met Jason when he was six. I was an educational psychologist and Jason was referred because he had made no progress at all with reading.
He grew up in the shadow of a spoil heap in the former Somerset coalfields, in a small village where few adults were in regular work. His horizons stretched no further than the council estate where he lived, and the village shop.
Over the years, I tracked his progress – or lack of it – through increasing difficult behaviour and friendship problems. He ended up excluded from secondary school and with no qualifications.
Most schools have children like Jason. He was a white, disadvantaged boy: a member of a group who on average have the lowest attainment levels in all phases of education, other than children of Gypsy Roma and Traveller heritage.
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