In terms of performance (attainment and progress), it is clear that pupils eligible (or that have been eligible) for free school meals and/or are looked after are amongst the most vulnerable. When comparing Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 data, these ‘disadvantaged pupils’ underperform compared to their peers.
For both Key Stage 2 and 4, for all subjects and for both attainment and progress, disadvantaged pupils in Warwickshire underperform compared to disadvantaged pupils nationally.
Whilst the achievements of disadvantaged pupils are increasing in all subjects and both Key Stages, so too are the achievements of non-disadvantaged pupils. This means that the ‘gap’ between both groups is either being maintained at the same level or is increasing.
In Warwickshire, in 2013/14, 22% of pupils were considered to be disadvantaged in the Key Stage 2 year group. Just under two thirds (65%) of these disadvantaged pupils achieved a Level 4 or above in Reading, Writing and Maths compared with 84% of pupils nationally who are considered to be ‘non-disadvantaged.’
The ‘gap’ for Key Stage 2 pupils achieving Level 4 or above in Reading, Writing and Maths has reduced by three percentage points in Warwickshire between 2013 and 2014 (23% points down to 20% percentage points) and further still from 2011 (27% points). A similar fall has taken place nationally and as a result, Warwickshire’s ‘gap’ when compared with the national ‘non-disadvantaged’ cohort is 19 percentage points.
Key Stage 2 attainment levels improved from 2011 to 2014 both locally and nationally and there is evidence of the ‘gap’ narrowing in Warwickshire over this time period for this year group.
In Warwickshire, 19% of pupils were considered to be disadvantaged in the Key Stage 4 year group in 2013/14. The ‘gap’ in 2014 when comparing Warwickshire’s disadvantaged pupils with the national ‘non-disadvantaged’ cohort was 30 percentage points when comparing the performance of those achieving 5 or more GCSEs at A*- C (or equivalent) including English and Maths. This highlights that the inequality in attainment widens as pupils move through the Key Stages.
Changes introduced in GCSE performance tables in September 2013 means that 2014 results cannot be compared to previous years. However, evidence suggests that from 2011 to 2013,the GCSE attainment levels of disadvantaged pupils rose in Warwickshire, from a third (33%) of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades including English & Maths to 39% in 2013. As a result, the ‘gap’ at Key Stage 4 fell from 32 percentage points in 2011 to 29 percentage points in 2013 when comparing Warwickshire’s disadvantaged pupils with national ‘non-disadvantaged’ pupils.
This relatively positive news should be considered alongside the evidence that in 2014, Warwickshire’s ‘gap’ (32% points) between its disadvantaged pupils and ‘non-disadvantaged’ pupils is five percentage points wider than the national ‘gap’ which is 27% points.
At a District/Borough level, in 2013/14, the ‘gap’ when comparing the disadvantaged pupils who attend a school in one of the District/Borough areas compared with the national ‘nondisadvantaged’ cohort ranges from 33% points in Rugby Borough to 46% points in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough.