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Department for Opportunities warns educational divide set to widen during epidemic

Department for Opportunities Warns Educational Divide Set to Widen During Epidemic

Department for Opportunities, the campaigning arm of the Social Mobility Foundation, has published a YouGov poll showing 40 per cent of children from low income households – those with incomes of less than £20,000 a year – do not have a quiet room in which they can study during the Coronavirus shut down. This compares to just 19 per cent among children in households with income of more than £70,000 a year.

  • Polling shows 40 per cent of children on low incomes do not have a quiet place to study
  • Better-off families three times as likely to use private tutors during school shut-down
  • Universities urged to take social background of students into account in deciding places

Rt Hon Alan Milburn, Chair of the SMF, said

“Covid-19 is facing our country with an unprecedented challenge.  The Government is rightly focused on minimising the number of people impacted by the pandemic and its decision to close schools and scrap exams is the right one. 

“It’s always been the case that young people do not compete on a level playing field. This new data makes clear that missing months of schooling will hit children from disadvantaged backgrounds, who do not have access to a quiet space to study or private tutors, harder than others.

“The risk is that too many low income students, having to study in cramped noisy conditions, will gain lower grades than they might otherwise have done.

“Universities can help offset these disadvantages by taking these inequities into account and making contextual offers the norm as they move to admitting new students later this year.”

More details and the full research is available on the Department for Opportunities website.

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