No vulnerable Bedford children meet education standard for reading, writing and maths

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Union NAHT said disadvantage gap will continue unless the Government invests

No children in need in Bedford met the expected standard in writing, reading and maths last year, new figures show.

Across England, looked-after children, pupils in care and those with a child protection order performed worse compared to all pupils in the 2022-23 academic year.

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School leaders’ union the NAHT said the disadvantage gap will continue to have a harmful impact on vulnerable children’s life chances unless the Government invests in services supporting schools.

Department for Education figures show none of the 61 children in need in key stage two in Bedford met the required standard for reading, writing and maths in 2022-23Department for Education figures show none of the 61 children in need in key stage two in Bedford met the required standard for reading, writing and maths in 2022-23
Department for Education figures show none of the 61 children in need in key stage two in Bedford met the required standard for reading, writing and maths in 2022-23

Department for Education figures show none of the 61 children in need in key stage two in Bedford met the required standard for reading, writing and maths in 2022-23.

Meanwhile, 52% of all pupils in Bedford met the standard.

Across England, 30% of vulnerable children were up to the requirements for reading, writing and maths compared to an average of 60% of all children.

The figures for all pupils include the number of children considered in need as well.

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While the gap remained the same since 2018-19, both groups had a worse performance. Before the pandemic, 35% of children in need made the grade, while 65% of all pupils did.

Pepe Di’Iasio, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Children in social care have often gone through hell and unfortunately this trauma can understandably impact on their educational progress as well as their social and emotional wellbeing.

Schools work hard to support them in all respects, but they are having to do so without enough funding, staff or specialist support. In addition, social care departments are also under huge pressure.”

The figures also show six of the key stage two children in need in Bedford reached the expected standard for reading, also six for writing and eight for maths.

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For all pupils, 69% met the reading standard, with 63% in writing and 68% in maths.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, said: “The Government clearly hasn’t done nearly enough to support children’s recovery from the pandemic, and it is depressing that this has further harmed those children who need help the most.

He said while teachers do their best to support pupils, they are not equipped to tackle the root causes of poverty.

“The disadvantage gap will continue to have a pernicious impact on children’s life chances, especially the most vulnerable, and it will only begin to close when the Government properly invests in those services that support schools’ social care, family support and mental health services,” Mr Whiteman added.

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A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We want to make sure that children from all over the country, regardless of background, have the same opportunities to succeed and attain the highest levels.

“We have made almost £5 billion available since 2020 for education recovery initiatives, including high quality tutoring for the children who need the most support. We are also supporting disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium, which is rising to almost £2.9 billion in 2024-25, the highest in cash terms since this funding began.”

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