Education in the UK is not fair

Young people from low income communities are much less likely to succeed than their wealthier peers. The achievement gap begins long before they start primary school and widens throughout their education. 

Our most recent Report Card showed that disadvantaged pupils are already more than 8 months behind their peers in reading, writing and maths by age 11. They are less than half as likely to achieve passes in GCSE English and maths, and four times as likely to be permanently excluded from school. They are nearly ten times less likely to go to a top university.

At every step their opportunities are limited, and their health, happiness and career prospects are damaged, all because of the financial state they were born into.

The economic and moral imperatives for action are incontrovertible. The challenge remains to make progress and build consensus, sharing what works in order to do so. For all these reasons the work of the FEA remains more relevant than ever.
— David Soanes, UK Country Head, UBS

There is not just a moral imperative, but an economic imperative to make sure we are getting the most out of every young person in the UK, not just a lucky few. Young people not doing well in education has a domino effect on wider society. A conservative estimate of the total “resource cost” to public finance of young people not in education, employment, or training is nearly £21 billion, reflecting lost productivity to the economy and welfare to individuals and families. The higher estimates are of a cost of £76 billion, amounting to the budget of a small to medium government department.

Measuring the size of the problem

To measure the progress being made to reduce educational inequality, and to help target intervention effectively, we created the five Fair Education Impact Goals.

1) Narrow the gap in literacy and numeracy at primary school

2) Narrow the gap in GCSE attainment at secondary school

3) Ensure young people develop social and emotional competencies, good mental health
and wellbeing

4) Narrow the gap in the proportion of young people taking part in further education or training after finishing their GCSEs

5) Narrow the gap in university graduation, including from the 25% most selective universities