13th January 2016

Initial research by the Social Market Foundation think tank has revealed marked regional disparities in educational outcomes, including:

  • GCSE performance at age 16 across England and Wales shows variations between regions, with over 70% of pupils in London achieving 5 good GCSEs compared to 63% in Yorkshire & Humber.
  • The SMF finds that regional differences in attainment are already apparent by the end of primary school and they are observable even when you control for other factors such as ethnicity and income.
  • Analysis across different cohorts of children sitting exams at age 16 shows that regional inequalities have remained stubborn and in some cases worsened over the last three decades. Areas such as the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the East Midlands have persistently under-performed, behind whilst London’s performance has surged.
  • Comparing the performance of 11-year olds born in 2000 with those born in 1970 reveals that the geographic area a child comes from has become a more powerful predictive factor for those born in 2000 compared to 1970.

The research was announced at the launch of a new cross-party commission on inequality in primary and secondary education, chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The commission will report its full findings early next year.


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