Primary school offer day 2017: Poor children twice as likely to attend substandard schools, study finds

Just one in six of those from the poorest families win places at the best primary schools, research finds
Just one in six of those from the poorest families win places at the best primary schools, research finds Credit: Juice Images / Alamy

Schools are already selecting by wealth, with poor children twice as likely to attend substandard secondary schools, a study has found.

Just one in six of those from the poorest families win places at the best primary schools, according to research by the charity Teach First which found that the gulf between rich and poor children grows even wider by the time they reach secondary school.

The findings will viewed as supportive of Prime Minister Theresa May’s assertion that a new generation of grammar schools will help the brightest children from disadvantaged families to achieve their potential at good schools, in a system of where students are selected on ability rather than on wealth.

Prime Minister Theresa May Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth

Only 15 per cent of children from the poorest families currently attend an outstanding primary school, compared to 27 per cent of children from the richest families. Eleven per cent of children in the poorest families attend a primary school rated as requires improvement or inadequate, compared to just six per cent of the richest ones.

On Tuesday around half a million families across England will find out which primary school their child has got a place at in September, dubbed National Offer Day.

Teach First, a charity which opposes the expansion of selective schools, found that the inequality continues at secondary school.

The percentage of the poorest children going onto a secondary school rated as requires improvement or inadequate by Ofsted doubles to 24 per cent, compared to just 10 per cent of children from the wealthiest families.

Teach First found that the inequality continues at secondary school Credit: David Davies

The charity's chief executive, Brett Wigdortz, said the research shows that social mobility remains a "serious issue" in the UK.

"We know that all families care about giving their children the best possible start in life, but as outstanding schools are unfairly concentrated in richer communities, poorer families are finding themselves priced out," he said.

"As a society we must challenge the idea that where a child is from, or how rich their parents are, determines whether they get access to an outstanding education."

Education Secretary Justine Greening  Credit: Ben Birchall

The research used the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index, a Government measure which calculates child deprivation based on household income. They defined the richest and poorest children as those in the top 30 per cent and bottom 30 per cent of household incomes respectively.

Last week, the Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that new selective schools should give priority to children from “ordinary working families”, whose household income is less than £33,000.

A Department for Education spokesman: "We are making more good school places available so thousands more families have the choice of a good local school.

"But we know there is more to do to ensure every parent has access to a good schools place for their child. We have already set out plans to make more good school places available, including scrapping the ban on new grammar school places, and harnessing the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools."