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Region’s economy missing out on millions each year because of disadvantaged pupil attainment gap

PUBLISHED: 08:29 28 December 2017

Boosting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils could have a significant impact on the region's economy, the report said. Picture: THINKSTOCK

Boosting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils could have a significant impact on the region's economy, the report said. Picture: THINKSTOCK

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The region’s economy is losing out on millions of pounds in economic benefit each year as a result of the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils, new Government data has revealed.

The Department for Education has this month published a new report which analyses the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils in London and the rest of the country.

In London, an average of 52% of disadvantaged pupils secured five GCSE grades A*-C (including maths and English) compared to 38% for those in the east.

Now, economic analysis has revealed that if the region’s 6,874 disadvantaged pupils performed as well as those in London, there would be a total economic boost of more than £1.3bn for the region across their lifetime – tens of millions per year.

Suffolk Young People’s Health Project (4YP) said its partnership work with other agencies had revealed a connection between attainment and deprivation.

A spokesman said: “4YP offers support in a number of Suffolk schools, including counselling and emotional wellbeing workshops. This helps alleviate the issues that young people often experience, which can be exacerbated by deprivation, social isolation, additional learning needs, and lack of other provision especially for those living in the county’s rural communities.”

The spokesman added that one-to-one sessions and additional support in schools could help children combat emotional and social needs, and improve areas such as attendance, amount of sleep and communication skills which in turn aid their progress and attainment.

From 2012-2015 when Raising the Bar was launched, the disadvantaged gap compared to national figures narrowed from 12% to 5%.

Ipswich being designated an opportunity area by the Government means that more funding and development will focus on disadvantaged pupils.

Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble added: “Suffolk County Council is committed to improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

“Outcomes are improving in Suffolk. The percentage of disadvantaged pupils achieving the expected standards in English and maths at GCSE has increased by 11% since 2015. We recognise that there is more to be done, and we will continue support schools in Suffolk to drive up standards.”

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