Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Boys from poorer homes in Birkenhead falling behind on GCSE results


05 March 2018
Food bank

Birkenhead’s MP Frank Field has obtained official data showing how boys from poorer homes are falling behind their classmates in their GCSE exams.

In response to Frank’s parliamentary question, the Department for Education has provided data showing that, since 2013:

- The proportion of Birkenhead boys eligible for free school meals achieving five or more GCSEs (A*-C), including English and maths, increased from 22.9% in 2013-14, to 28.3% in 2014-15. It then fell to 21.2% in 2015-16.

- By contrast, the proportion of Birkenhead girls eligible for free school meals achieving five or more GCSEs (A*-C), including English and maths, increased from 27.7% in 2013-14, to 31.1% in 2014-15. It then increased again to 32% in 2015-16.

- The variation in performance among Birkenhead boys who are not eligible for free school meals was less dramatic. The proportion achieving five or more GCSEs (A*-C), including English and maths, increased from 53.6% in 2013-14, to 55.9% in 2014-15. It then fell to 52.2% in 2015-16.

- The most significant improvement in performance was evident among Birkenhead girls who are not eligible for free school meals. The proportion achieving five or more GCSEs (A*-C), including English and maths, increased from 64.4% in 2013-14, to 64.6% in 2014-15. It then increased again to 71.3% in 2015-16.

- Both boys and girls in Birkenhead who are eligible for free school meals performed worse than their peers in Wallasey, in 2014-15 and 2015-16, although there has been an improvement. The gap between disadvantaged boys in Birkenhead and Wallasey, in 2014-15, stood at 4 percentage points. It narrowed to 3.5 percentage points in 2015-16. For girls, the gap stood at 11.3 percentage points in 2014-15, before narrowing to 4.8 percentage points in 2015-16.

- By contrast, both boys and girls in Birkenhead who are not eligible for free school meals performed better than their peers in Wallasey, in 2015-16.

Frank has followed up these data with a further parliamentary question, asking the Department what additional steps it is taking to close these gaps in attainment.

Commenting on the data, Frank said: ‘Amongst the really encouraging results registered by a lot of children, there is one hugely troubling finding from these data; the chances of Birkenhead boys from poorer backgrounds gaining a decent education, and going on to get a good job and lead a happy life, are not only stalling, but going into reverse.

‘Clearly we need a new approach from the Government to give schools and parents the tools they need to give those boys a decent chance of getting on in life.’




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