Today, thousands of young children across the UK find out which primary school they will attend this September. While an exciting time for many families, it can also be a stressful day for those from lower income communities.
In these areas, schools have to overcome significant challenges which aren’t faced by schools serving wealthier communities. These can make it harder for them to achieve 'good' or 'outstanding' OFSTED ratings. One of these challenges is a struggle to attract teaching talent, which is why we’re calling for more people to apply for a place on our Leadership Development Programme by 27 April, and train to teach in a school that serves disadvantaged pupils.
There’s no doubt that improvements have been made to the quality of schools nationwide, with 1.4 million more pupils attending ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ primary and secondary schools now compared to five years ago. In some areas the outlook is especially bright – such as Manchester and Middlesbrough, where 70% of outstanding primaries serve the poorest communities.
However, today we have revealed new analysis which demonstrates that schools that serve disadvantaged communities continue to need the most support. Blackpool, the Isle of Wight and Thurrock each only have one 'outstanding' primary school, and in areas like Bradford and Kent, one in three schools serving the poorest 20% of postcodes is deemed to require improvement by Ofsted.
The concentration of good and outstanding schools in more affluent areas adds to the fact that the odds are stacked against poorer children when it comes to their starting point in primary education, which encompasses some of the most important formative years in their lives. Based on figures from Ofsted, our analysis shows:
- The poorest families are four times more likely to send their child to a primary school which requires improvement or is inadequate compared to the wealthiest families.
- The poorest families have less than half the chance of sending their child to an outstanding primary school compared to the wealthiest families.
- In areas that have the highest proportion of Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ schools, average monthly rent for a two-bedroom property is more than double rent in areas with the lowest proportion of these schools.
Reacting to the figures, our Founder and CEO Brett Wigdortz said, “Every parent wants the best for their child, but as the costs of housing have soared over the years, parents from low-income backgrounds face an unequal choice to ensure that their children’s school offers what’s best for them. Outstanding schools are unfairly concentrated in areas of wealth. We know that primary teachers up and down the country are doing an incredible job of supporting their pupils from day one, by sparking their creativity and imaginations. But for children from poorer backgrounds, there are still challenges that must not be ignored.”
Improvements in places like Manchester and Middlesbrough demonstrate that progress is possible. We believe that with the right support and resources we can provide the best possible education for all pupils, regardless of their background. If you are soon to finish university or considering changing careers, you can be a part of this transformation, by applying to join our programme and teaching and inspiring pupils from low-income backgrounds.