Attainment gap grown by a quarter since pandemic, study shows

The attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils has grown by up to 25 per cent over the past two years, latest analysis published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) suggests. The study of 10,000 Key Stage 1 children from 156 schools found a deterioration in reading and maths ability across all pupils but that this was greatest among those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Among year 2 pupils, the attainment gap for reading is now seven months and for maths eight months, compared with six months for both in 2019. For year 1 pupils, the gap for both reading and maths is around seven months. The Impact of Covid-19 school closures and subsequent support strategies study, undertaken for the EEF by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), assessed children’s abilities at the end of the spring term following the second national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their attainment was compared with that of a representative sample of year 1 and 2 children in spring 2019. Read more.