A third of disadvantaged students regularly skip school, IFS notes

According to a recent analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), more than a third of children from disadvantaged backgrounds now regularly miss school.

The research shows that 37% of pupils receiving free school meals miss at least one day of education every two weeks, a significant increase from 23% before the pandemic.

The IFS highlighted that students from poorer families are more likely to be “persistently absent”, further widening the gap in educational achievement between rich and poor students. Although headline figures place English schoolchildren ahead of many other wealthy countries in reading and maths skills, the disparity between the richest and poorest students is as wide as the gap between England and Colombia's education outcomes.

Imran Tahir, an IFS research economist and author of the report, said: “If the next government is to tackle these deep-seated inequalities, its challenge will be made even more difficult by the legacy of the pandemic.”

The IFS also reported that the number of children missing more than half of their education has doubled since 2019, with poorer families disproportionately affected. While truancy on this scale remains relatively rare, the increase in absenteeism since Covid has alarmed teachers and politicians, who worry about the long-term impact on a generation of young people.

Figures from the Department for Education show that absenteeism among all students has risen by almost two-thirds since 2019, with students now missing an average of fourteen days of school per year, compared to nine days previously.

While regular absenteeism is most pronounced among disadvantaged students, the IFS noted that truancy rates among wealthier students have also doubled since the pandemic, with one in six now persistently absent.

Labor has proposed improving school attendance through initiatives such as free breakfast clubs for primary schools, improved mental health support and Ofsted reviews of attendance data. Earlier this year the government announced a £15 million investment over three years to tackle truancy, promising targeted support for 10,000 seriously absent pupils and their families and establishing 18 new 'attendance centres' in England, bringing the total to 32 brings.

Despite these efforts, the IFS warned that 'pious promises' to tackle education inequality 'have consistently fallen flat'. The achievement gap between 16-year-olds on free school meals and their peers has remained largely unchanged over the past two decades, with just 43% achieving at least a fourth grade in English and maths last year, compared to 72% of pupils from affluent families.

Among rich countries, only Ireland, Canada, Estonia and Japan outperform England in terms of average school attainment and lower inequality.

Mr Tahir pointed out that closing the achievement gap is further complicated by the increasing number of mental health problems and the increasingly complex needs of children. He noted: “The rates of special educational needs and mental health problems are rising sharply. And now twice as many young people say they hate school as before the pandemic.”

These challenges place significant pressure on schools and teachers, making it critical for any new government to address these issues. Josh Hillman from the Nuffield Foundation, a social mobility charity, highlighted the need for innovative and well-funded policies to tackle educational inequality. He added: “Other government departments will also have a role to play in supporting the wider wellbeing of disadvantaged children and young people, which is vital to their educational development.”

Related Posts

  • Business
  • June 19, 2024
  • 3 views
  • 2 minutes Read
Ferrari has plans to sell an electric car. Costs? More than $500,000.

Ferrari, the luxury Italian automaker, plans to make an electric vehicle that will cost more than $500,000, according to a study. Reuters report. The automaker's forays into the EV market…

  • Business
  • June 19, 2024
  • 4 views
  • 3 minutes Read
CDK cyber attack shuts down US car dealers. Here's what you need to know.

What to do if you think your personal information has been hacked What to do if you think your personal information has been hacked 03:12 CDK Global, a company that…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

The retro kick-off tactic that is proving popular (and effective) at Euro 2024

  • June 20, 2024
The retro kick-off tactic that is proving popular (and effective) at Euro 2024

Demand for mortgages is leveling off, even as interest rates reach their lowest level since March

  • June 20, 2024
Demand for mortgages is leveling off, even as interest rates reach their lowest level since March

At least one in four residential yards in the U.S. exceeds the new EPA guideline for lead levels in soil

  • June 20, 2024
At least one in four residential yards in the U.S. exceeds the new EPA guideline for lead levels in soil

General Catalyst makes India push with Venture Highway merger

  • June 20, 2024
General Catalyst makes India push with Venture Highway merger

Shares of Guzman y Gomez are surging more than 39% in their trading debut

  • June 20, 2024
Shares of Guzman y Gomez are surging more than 39% in their trading debut

Two climate activists arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge: NPR

  • June 20, 2024
Two climate activists arrested after spraying orange paint on Stonehenge: NPR

Paradromics wants to make brain implants a reality before the end of this decade

  • June 20, 2024
Paradromics wants to make brain implants a reality before the end of this decade

Golden Goose postpones the Milan IPO due to the political unrest in Europe

  • June 20, 2024
Golden Goose postpones the Milan IPO due to the political unrest in Europe

Lydia Jacoby misses out on Tokyo Olympic gold in Paris after surprise: 'It hasn't fully sunk in yet'

  • June 20, 2024
Lydia Jacoby misses out on Tokyo Olympic gold in Paris after surprise: 'It hasn't fully sunk in yet'

Hours of power outages affect millions of people in Ecuador after transmission line failure

  • June 20, 2024
Hours of power outages affect millions of people in Ecuador after transmission line failure

Where to watch Euro 2024 online as Scotland faces Switzerland: Schedule, Live Stream, TV Channel, Online

  • June 20, 2024
Where to watch Euro 2024 online as Scotland faces Switzerland: Schedule, Live Stream, TV Channel, Online