Attainment gap ‘persistent and significant’ in Scottish schools

A new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and Strathclyde University has once again criticised the level of help that children from poor background receive, this time with particular reference to Scotland.. They described the attainment gap as ‘persistent and significant’.

Jim McCormick of JRF said: “Scottish education serves many children well, but too many poor children risk becoming poor adults unless we close the attainment gap.”

The report urged schools to pay greater attention to the attainment gap and seek help. Impoverished children are affected by numerous factors, including having parents who are more stressed, less able to afford educational activities and resources and less able to help them with school work. Only 28% of children with a poor socio economic background performed well in numeracy, compared with 56% from advantaged backgrounds.

Children from poor backgrounds were:

  • More likely to leave school earlier and without any qualifications.
  • Three times as likely to be unemployed after leaving school
  • Twice as likely to work only part-time hours
  • Likely to earn only half as much as their peers if they did find work

Another paper, by the Scottish Labour Party, has also been released, looking at ways the attainment gap could be tackled. It urged that there must be a greater willingness to take risks and try new things.

The disparity between advantaged and disadvantaged children is present throughout the UK, and it is clear that there is still not enough being done to tackle this issue. At the end of the day, children from poor backgrounds are being condemned to social immobility. At Bridge Builders we are passionate about helping boys from poor socio economic backgrounds to focus and find their way, by providing inspirational mentoring and skills workshops. Call me (Amber) today on 0333 200 4703 to find out how we could work with your school or youth organisation to bridge the gap.

Helen Robinson