Cardiff's most vulnerable children at risk of being left behind

Latest report shows vulnerable pupils performing worse than their counterparts

By Rhys Taylor, Jan 18, 2019 1:01

Eight schoolchildren working at a table supervised by a teacher.

Figures from Cardiff’s Annual School Performance report show that pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds, children in care, and children on Free School Meals in our schools are performing worse than their counterparts.

We’re are seeing improvements in education standards and pupil performance across Cardiff schools, which is to be welcomed and to be celebrated. Our teachers and support staff work hard to make sure that pupils can achieve their potential.

However, below the surface we can see that some of our most vulnerable pupils and those pupils often with least access to opportunities to get ahead are trailing behind their counterparts. Traveller and Romany pupils, children who are looked after, and pupils on Free School Meals consistently fall behind their counterparts.

The report shows that in 2017/18:

  • At KS4 61.41% of white British pupils achieved Level 2+ threshold compared to 22.22% of Traveller and Romany pupils, 51.95% of Somali pupils, and 53.84% of ‘Other Black’ pupils.
  • At KS3 87.64% of White British pupils achieved the Core Subject Indicators compared to 44.44% of Traveller and Romany pupils, 81.82% of Somali pupils and 83.83% of Black Caribbean pupils.
  • Among pupils Educated Other Than at School (EOTAS) only 27.8% achieved Level 1 at KS4 and only 0.9% achieved the Level 2 threshold.
  • At KS4 only 37.2% of pupils on Free School Meals achieved the Level 2+ including English/Welsh and Mathematics in 2017/2018 compared to 67.8% non-Free School Meal pupils, a gap 30.5%.
  • Only 25% of Children who are Looked After achieved Level 2+ at KS4.
  • At KS3 70.8% of pupils achieved all Core Subject Indicators compared to 91.5% of non-Free School Meal pupils.

These trends may not be limited to Cardiff, but if we’re going to ensure that all children can get the best start in life and have the opportunity to get ahead then we have to demand better and redouble our efforts to ensure that no child is left behind.

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