FSM statistics cause alarm in Wales

Children on free school meals in Wales are up to four times less likely to top the class in national tests, according to new government figures.

Overall the performance of eligible free school meals (FSM) pupils is lower than their non-eligible counterparts in national reading and numeracy tests taken by children from years 2 to 9.

The new figures were revealed as teaching unions gave a stark warning to the National Assembly that after a decade of austerity continued budget cuts are having a real impact on learning, with bigger classes, less subject choice, more pressure on teachers and some even having to teach more subjects which are not their specialism.

The Welsh government statistical report which was based on the performance of pupils in last year’s tests concluded that “FSM pupils are between two and three times more likely to achieve an age-standardised score below 85 in the national tests” and “between two and a half and four times less likely to achieve an age-standardised score above 115 in each of the national tests”.

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