The educational gaps between rich and poor start early and widen throughout a pupil’s education. Matt Bromley argues that Pupil Premium spending must focus on cultural capital, especially the importance of vocabulary

When I spoke at SecEd’s Seventh National Pupil Premium and Ofsted Conference last year, I explained that one in four children in the UK grows up in poverty. That figure has since risen to nearly one in three. In other words, nearly a third of young people now grow up in poverty in this country – this western, civilised, affluent nation.

The academic achievement gap between rich and poor is detectable from an early age – as early, in fact, as 22 months – and the gap continues to widen as children travel through the education system.

Children from the lowest income homes are half as likely to get five good GCSEs and go on to higher education as the national average and White working class pupils (particularly boys) are among our lowest performers. What’s more, the link between poverty and attainment is multi-racial – no matter the ethnic background, pupils eligible for free school meals underperform compared to those who are not.

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