Poor pupils in Wales two years behind their peers

A new report has found that pupils from poorer backgrounds are, on average, nearly two years (22-23 months) behind their peers when they sit GCSEs.

For those who are ‘long-term poor’, that number increases to 29 months. Researchers conclude that COVID lockdowns had increased the gap.

This comes a week after a report found that child poverty in Wales has risen by 5% between 2019-20 and 2020-21, with the percentage of UK children living in relative poverty falling by 4% in the same time.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS, said:

“Whether it’s educational attainment or levels of poverty, it’s clear that the poorest in Wales are suffering under Labour.

“They’ve had 23 years to help the most vulnerable but have failed spectacularly. Labour in power means child poverty rates increase and education standards get worse.

“Remember, children in Wales missed more days of school on average than any other part in the UK due to Labour’s lockdowns – and there’s no plan for them to catch-up.

“Instead of Labour’s lacklustre approach, what we need to see is a clear commitment from this Labour Government to ensure our children are supported in every way possible so that learners can get the very best education they deserve.” 

Commenting, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said:

“While Labour ministers are trying to build a legacy by stuffing the Senedd with more politicians, their legacy will in fact by the worst COVID death rate in the UK, child poverty rising, and now poorer children in danger of being left behind.

“Across Wales, poorer children risk becoming a lost generation of unrealised talent.

“It’s time that Labour got their priorities in order and tackled the issues that matter, rather than spending their energy and our money legislating for more politicians.”

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