Education in Wales

The gap in attainment between those from richer and poorer backgrounds at age 11 has fallen significantly in recent years, but remains much larger at age 16.

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Link to source: Welsh Government

The attainment of disadvantaged pupils at Key Stage 2 (age 11) is around 16 percentage points lower than those who are less disadvantaged. However, this is a much smaller gap than was observed in 2004/05, when disadvantaged students were 26 points behind.

Although attainment has improved across Wales, the reduction in the attainment gap has been due to a greater improvement for those who are eligible for free school meals than in the rest of the population. However, 2018/19 was the first year since 2004/05 where this gap has widened by more than a percentage point as attainment for those eligible for free school meals decreased by 3% while attainment for those not eligible decreased by 1%

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Link to source: Welsh Government

At GCSE level in Wales in 2016 (Key Stage 4) the attainment gap is wider than at Key Stage 2, and has remained broadly the same since 2007. The gap was greatest at around 34 percentage points in 2010 but has narrowed slightly to 32 percentage points in 2018. This reduction in the gap was driven by greater improvement among pupils who receive free school meals.