The widening gap of educational success in the United Kingdom.

by ProvocativeTrash on January 30, 2015 - 1:37pm

Richard Adams, education editor of The Guardian writes that the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) gap has widened between the rich and poor. According to recent statistics, only 1 in 3 disadvantaged student achieve the GSCE’s passing level. Data collected on last year’s exams in England indicate that 53% of pupils earned themselves a C or above, which is a 6% fall from 2013. The gap in GSCE pass rates was 26.7 percentage points in 2013, but rose to 27.2 % last school year.

According to Brett Wigdortz, CE of the graduate teacher recruitment charity Teach first mentioned that “Things are getting worse for poorer children, instead of better.” Despite the trend, King Solomon Academy in London, a school where 2/3 of pupils are disadvantaged enough to be eligible for free school meals had a GSCE pass rate of 93% amongst its poorer students. Meanwhile, King Edward VI Five Ways, a privileged Birmingham academy had a 100% GSCE pass rate out of 155 pupils.

Changes brought to the education system caused the weighing of certain courses to drop and also removed a number of vocational courses from the GSCE.

Nicky Morgan, education secretary of the UK, spoke on the matter of changes to the education system that possibly triggered the widening gap, saying that “By stripping out thousands of poor-quality qualifications, some schools have seen changes in their standings.”


While decisions made by the education wing of the UK can’t be influenced directly, they can be rallied for. To fix this gap, it is clear that less privileged students need more support in schoolwork and more programs to aid them, such as free school meals and extracurricular activities. Even though the modern “democratic process” isn’t explicitly functional, UK citizens must call their local representatives and get in touch with the administrations managing schools to influence more change in the school systems. Only as a collective movement will such a thing occur, thus it is vital to influence others to get in contact with those who manage not only the schools, but also those who run the country.




The Guardian is a trusted center-left to liberal newspaper based in London who retains credibility through the consistency of the transparency of the articles it publishes.  It has been under fire by its own government during the Edward Snowden scandal, where the GCHQ(Government Communications Headquarters) ordered the seizing and destruction of the hard drives of information on the matter. This article in particular draws its figures from the national GSCE scores obtained from government statistics. This ensures trust in the information communicated to the reader.


Adams, Richard. GSCE gap between rich and poor widens. The Guardian, London January 29, 2015. January 30, 2014. Web.


I definitely agree with you on this point. This gap needs to be closed and the conditions that led to it existing in the first place should also be removed or corrected. Though, if I were to be perfectly honest, I am unsure on how to do such a thing.

To me, this seems to be just another symptom of the rising income inequality between the rich and the poor which is happening all around the world. Which by itself was already a major contemporary issue that has already raised major debates about what it does and what it means for the sustainability of our current society. Until now, it had seemed that this situation was potentially sustainable, because even though the income gap was getting bigger, the poor were still getting noticeably richer. but this article could be a sign that this situation is much more unsustainable than we thought.

After all, the richer getting richer and the poor getting poorer was something that could be tolerated and could work so long as the quality of life was still high. However, in the UK it seems that could be in danger. One of the biggest factor in one's quality of life depends on education and academic success, that's just how the current social order is. Yet now, there is a noticeable difference in those two criteria in the UK, those who are better off financially are doing better in school and those who are more disadvantaged are doing worse. And who's to say that this sort of gap will not spread to other sections of society if not corrected?

If this continues then tensions between the richer classes of society and the middle to lower classes will fire up, or get worse if they were already fired up. One modern society is build upon the foundation of equality and equity for all, our culture will not accept such a big difference, so this sort of gap would create an unsustainable situation. Either something like conflict and actual divide between the rich and the poor which could tear the country apart, or simply led to a systematic breakdown of their society due to breakdown of social cohesion and ability.

And of course, even if something as dramatic as those scenarios do not happen, there are still risks. On an educational point of view, if the UK is producing less graduates, then they'll have less qualified people to take care and pass knowledge to the next generation and their collective brainpower would be in decline, and the relevance and the power of the United Kingdoms would go down.

So yes, this is would need into something completely unsustainable, but fortunately, it seems that this can be fixed into something more sustainable. There are schools which have their poorer students do very well, so I believe that the UK government should look into their methods and try to apply them.