Revealed: The areas with the biggest disadvantage gap

Poorer pupils on the Isle of Wight are 27.2 months behind their better-off peers by the end of key stage four, according to a damning new report which lays bare the state of the disadvantage gap in some parts of England.

According to the Education Policy Institute’s annual report, the Isle of Wight is at the bottom of the pile when it comes to the disadvantage gap, followed closely by Northumberland (26.1 months) and Blackpool (25.8 months).

A high concentration of large disadvantage gaps can be found in the north east and eastern parts of England, with  areas coming close to the two-year mark including Hartlepool, Sunderland, Redcar and Cleveland, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.

Those with the fastest growth in the gap between key stage two and key stage four are also clustered around the north east. In Redcar and Cleveland, the gap grows from the relatively small 5.5 months at the end of primary school to 23.4 months by the end of secondary school, with similar leaps seen in Sunderland (7.1 to 23.6 months) and Kingston upon Hull (6.7 to 23 months).

Several eastern areas have the fastest growth in the disadvantage gap between early years and key stage two. In Peterborough, poorer pupils go from being 2.9 months behind their peers at the start of school to 12.6 months by the end of Year 2. Similar levels can also be found in North Lincolnshire (4.2 to 12.9 months), Bedford (4.5 to 14.4 months) and East Sussex (1.1 to 11.7 months).

However, London came top in terms of areas with the lowest disadvantage gap, with all of the top 10 local authorities with the smallest gap being located in the capital. The most startling findings were in Kensington and Chelsea, where disadvantaged pupils were just 0.2 months behind their peers in primary school, and were ahead of them by 2.5 months by the end of secondary school.

The report also analysed how disadvantage gaps had changed in local authorities between 2012 and 2017 when compared to authorities with similar initial gaps. Bedford’s had worsened the most at key stage two, increasing by 4.9 months in the five years, but it was joined by St Helens (increasing by 4.5 months) and Halton (increasing by 4.3 months).


Largest disadvantage gap at key stage 4

  1. Isle of Wight: 27.2 months
  2. Northumberland: 26.1 months
  3. Blackpool: 25.8 months
  4. Derby: 25.5 months
  5. Kent: 25.4 months
  6. Salford: 24.7 months
  7. Telford and Wrekin: 24.6 months
  8. Peterborough: 24.2 months
  9. Sheffield: 24.2 months
  10. Darlington: 24.1 months


Smallest disadvantage gap at key stage 4

  1. Kensington and Chelsea: -2.5 months
  2. Westminster: 0.8 months
  3. Tower Hamlets: 3.8 months
  4. Redbridge: 4.5 months
  5. Hackney: 5 months
  6. =Newham: 5 months
  7. Hounslow 6 months
  8. = Southwark 6 months
  9. Barnet: 6.9 months
  10. Wandsworth: 7 months


Largest disadvantage gap at key stage 2

  1. Bedford: 14.4 months
  2. Cambridgeshire: 13.1 months
  3. = Wakefield: 13.1 months
  4. North Lincolnshire: 12.9 months
  5. Dudley: 12.8 months
  6. = Northamptonshire: 12.8 months
  7. Worcestershire: 12.7 months
  8. West Sussex: 12.5 months
  9. Leeds: 12.5 months
  10. Derby: 12.4 months


Smallest disadvantage gap at key stage 2

  1. Kensington and Chelsea: 0.2 months
  2. Hammersmith and Fulham: 0.9 months
  3. Newham: 1.3 months
  4. Lambeth: 2 months
  5. Tower Hamlets: 3.3 months
  6. Westminster: 3.6 months
  7. Waltham Forest: 4.7 months
  8. Southwark: 5.1 months
  9. Redbridge: 5.3 months
  10. Redcar and Cleveland: 5.5 months

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