Persistently poor pupils are among our lowest achievers and the attainment gap is getting worse post-Covid. School leader Jane Ireland was herself persistently poor – thinking back she identifies the factors that helped her to buck the trend

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) is to publish the findings of its latest research shortly. It looks at the effectiveness, or otherwise, of educational policy and initiatives in recent years.

Among its findings is likely to be the fact that children who are “persistently poor” are among the lowest achieving group of pupils – and that the size of this group is increasing year on year.

Indeed, the only group that performs even less well are the persistently poor who also have SEN.

We already know thanks to EPI research earlier this year that the gap in GCSE grades between students in long-term poverty and their better off peers has failed to improve over the last 10 years and that more students have now fallen into longer-term poverty (Hunt et al, 2022).

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