Tougher GCSEs widen gap between poorer and better-off pupils

The introduction of new, tougher GCSE exams in England has led to a widening of the gap between the results achieved by disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers, according to official figures.

The Department for Education (DfE) analysis of last summer’s GCSE exams found the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others at secondary school grew by 0.6 percentage points, after two years in which it had narrowed.

While disadvantaged pupils showed an improvement in the proportion gaining a grade 5 – previously a C – in the compulsory subjects of English and maths, others made more rapid progress, causing the gap to widen. Just over half of all other pupils gained a 5 or above in English and maths, but fewer than one in four disadvantaged pupils did the same. Read more.