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Poorer children’s hopes of going to university crushed as exam figures reveal education gap

29 Oct 2014

Mary Scanlon MSP

Children in Scotland’s poorest areas are more than three times less likely to achieve Standard Grade credit qualifications than their wealthier counterparts, depriving many of a place at university.

Research by the Scottish Conservatives showed only 18.9 per cent achieve five or more of the qualifications at the end of fourth year.

That compares to 59.1 per cent from the richest twenty per cent of households, proving there are significant inequalities in schools across Scotland.

Scottish Conservative research has revealed the shocking disparity in the marks gained by children living in the country’s most deprived households compared with those living in the most affluent.

The party will today use a Parliamentary debate to highlight the attainment gap between children living in different households in Scotland.

An FOI submitted to the Scottish Government on the number of children achieving five or more qualifications at Standard Grade credit level in 2013, broken down by areas of deprivation, has exposed how those in the lowest twenty per cent have little chance of getting the grades needed to go on to study Highers.

That ultimately denies them access to university and college places, and improved career prospects in the long-run.

In some local authorities the gulf is even more stark – in Stirling only 12.7 per cent of those in the most deprived households achieve the necessary qualifications, compared to 66 per cent of those in the more affluent, while in Aberdeen the gulf is 10.1 per cent compared to 55.8 per cent.

In Scotland’s two biggest cities, the gulf between the lowest and highest twenty per cent brackets is 20.5 per cent to 65.5 per cent in Glasgow, and 14.2 per cent to 60.5 per cent in Edinburgh.

The research comes six months after the party revealed how children from deprived households were also far less likely to achieve three or more higher qualifications.

In some areas the gap is so wide they are twenty times less likely to gain three As at Higher grade.

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Mary Scanlon MSP said:

“The education system in Scotland is continuing to fail children who have the misfortune of coming from poorer backgrounds.

“That is a disgrace and crushes the aspiration of every child in this predicament, who should have same opportunities as others.

“Not getting good qualifications at standard grade level has a domino effect – it means doors will be closed on Highers, and ultimately that makes it much harder to get into university.

“Of course further education isn’t for everyone, but it’s a scandal that the choice is denied to so many on the basis of affluence.

“We need to drive up the standard of education and give parents more choice over the school they send their children to.

“If we do not have radical reform of Scotland’s education system, the country’s poorer children will continue to suffer.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

Below is a table showing the number of children achieving five or more qualifications at Standard Grade credit level in 2013, and from which 20 per cent wealth bracket they come from:

 

 

Lowest 20 %

20% to 40%

40% to 60%

60% to 80%

Highest 20%

All

 
Aberdeen City

10.1

15.6

29.2

44.4

55.8

35.8

 
Aberdeenshire

N/A

N/A

27.8

37.5

51.2

37.9

 
Angus

22.1

20.2

31.5

42.0

44.3

34.8

 
Argyll & Bute

14.0

30.7

37.9

44.4

65.7

38.3

 
Clackmannanshire

7.2

11.8

15.4

N/A

N/A

14.1

 
Dumfries & Galloway

10.9

25.9

33.4

33.7

31.3

30.1

 
Dundee City

13.1

24.2

30.7

36.8

56.2

27.9

 
East Ayrshire

17.1

30.6

45.5

55.5

56.6

35.0

 
East Dunbartonshire

38.4

37.6

56.5

58.3

72.2

60.0

 
East Lothian

17.6

15.2

31.4

45.5

56.9

37.7

 
East Renfrewshire

32.1

59.5

62.6

71.5

80.6

70.7

 
Edinburgh City

14.2

22.9

21.6

42.6

60.5

37.8

 
Eilean Siar

N/A

N/A

41.7

N/A

N/A

41.5

 
Falkirk

13.5

16.8

20.6

33.5

27.4

22.7

 
Fife

16.8

25.2

35.1

45.6

55.2

35.1

 
Glasgow City

20.5

29.5

35.7

48.9

65.5

28.4

 
Highland

19.5

26.8

40.6

49.2

51.5

40.2

 
Inverclyde

23.9

36.1

46.3

50.0

64.4

37.4

 
Midlothian

16.4

18.5

39.4

37.6

53.3

33.4

 
Moray

N/A

N/A

32.7

43.5

59.5

38.3

 
North Ayrshire

20.1

26.4

38.7

54.0

60.0

34.6

 
North Lanarkshire

21.0

29.8

41.7

48.9

52.0

33.7

 
Orkney Islands

N/A

46.5

28.6

46.4

75.0

44.2

 
Perth & Kinross

18.8

27.4

38.8

43.7

55.7

41.4

 
Renfrewshire

21.8

26.6

40.1

50.6

63.7

40.4

 
Scottish Borders

19.0

37.8

40.0

53.0

72.7

46.6

 
Shetland Island

N/A

N/A

50.8

49.0

N/A

49.7

 
South Ayrshire

26.4

38.7

43.3

63.4

71.2

47.0

 
South Lanarkshire

16.4

26.7

36.4

46.5

60.7

36.4

 
Stirling

12.7

27.6

41.9

49.3

66.0

43.6

 
West Dunbartonshire

22.8

30.5

37.9

60.8

54.9

32.4

 
West Lothian

19.1

29.5

34.6

41.6

60.5

35.6

 
All

18.9

27.1

36.2

45.9

59.1

37.1

 

 

The Scottish Conservatives revealed in April children from the poorest areas were also far less likely to achieve three of more Higher qualifications:

http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2014/04/scotlands-education-system-failing-children-poorer-backgrounds/