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Disadvantage on the rise in UK education

The annual report of the Education Policy Institute, published on 26th August, reveals that the disadvantage gap in schools has stopped closing for the first time in a decade. Key findings include:

- Disadvantaged pupils in England are 18.1 months of learning behind their peers by the time they finish their GCSEs – the same gap as five years ago.

- The gap at primary school increased for the first time since 2007 – which may signal that the gap is set to widen in the future.

- The stalling of the gap occurred even before the COVID-19 pandemic had hit the education system.

The report focuses on educational attainment in general, not specifically on literacy, but as a cornerstone of all learning, literacy acquisition is almost certainly following the same trajectory. To read the full report, visit

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