The widening disadvantage gap in GCSE outcomes between disadvantaged pupils and their peers shows just how much Covid-19 has hit our poorest students and how insufficient the government’s education recovery funding package is.

The latest key stage 4 performance statistics show that the disadvantage gap – the relative attainment between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils – has widened to 3.79 in 2021.

This compares with a gap of 3.66 points in 2019/20 and 3.7 in 2018/19 (DfE, 2021).

The so-called disadvantage gap index summarises the relative attainment gap based on average grades in English and maths GCSEs between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils. It ranks all pupils in state-funded schools in England and asks whether disadvantaged pupils typically rank lower than non-disadvantaged pupils. A gap of zero would indicate that poorer pupils perform just as well as pupils from non-disadvantaged backgrounds.

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