Half of clever students from disadvantaged backgrounds fail to secure top GCSE grades

A new study from social mobility charity, The Sutton Trust, suggested that almost half of clever but disadvantaged students fail to secure the top GCSE grades. The study warned that bright pupils from poorer backgrounds are more likely to fall behind their richer classmates by the time they get to Year 11.

The study calls for action to combat this “wasted talent” and ensure that disadvantages students who performed well in primary school are able to fulfil their potential in later school years. The Sutton Trust’s founder, Sir Peter Lampl said that “too many talented young people from less well-off backgrounds gradually fall behind during their school career as the barriers they face take a toll”. He added that “all pupils should be given the chance to realise their potential regardless of their background”.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, agreed with Sir Lampl’s views and called for a “joined-up approach with social and economic policies which restore hope to these [disadvantaged] communities alongside more support for their schools.”

As educators, we have to remind ourselves that our students may face challenges outside of the classroom that can have an effect on how they perform. While there may not be much we can actually do for them outside of the classroom, we have to be alert to their mental and physical well-being and encourage them as much as possible. By providing this emotional support, we can help them to still perform despite any barriers they may face at home.


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