Reported on 10 December 2022 by The Independent:

“Poorer students are lagging behind their peers at the same rate as they were a decade ago, a report on the long-standing attainment gap has found.

Disadvantaged pupils have fallen further behind in primary school and at GCSE as progress towards more equal outcomes has slid backwards, the annual research found.

They were at their furthest point behind better-off peers at these stages since 2012, according to the Fair Education Alliance, a coalition of 250 groups that aim to tackle inequality within education.”

The initiative is relatively new and has an immense task ahead of it. Across the country, there has been a considerable gap between children from more privileged backgrounds and those from “widening participation” backgrounds. In Scotland, the current government has been putting measures in place for over a decade now. It tries to narrow the attainment gap, but it is not getting any better. Perhaps the current methods are not working? For example, when universities admit students from poorer backgrounds, do they support them enough once they start their courses? Many drop out during the first year as they are not prepared for the rigours of university life. Should universities not do much more to support their new students during the first year?

How to close the gaps in learning

The gaps are actually growing steadily from the early years onward. Primary Schools offer great education to all. Still, many younger children lack full access to early education as their parents may not be able to accompany them in their homework. Perhaps there is a need for more after-school clubs with the kind of support that other children have at home? If the gaps in learning could shrink in Primary School, the transition to Secondary Schools would be smoother. Of course, Secondary Education also has a lot to catch up on. The additional support for learning needs to continue and – most likely – become much more robust in high schools. Plenty of work to do, before it gets better!