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Survey highlights educational inequality

05 September 2014

by a staff reporter


Start from scratch: the secretary of state for international development, Justine Greening, the first person in her family to go to university, told the Spectator this week that the Conservative Party needed to push more for social mobility. "I know what it is like to grow up knowing you are not starting in the best place, or that other people are having a better start than you are," she said. "It's about understanding what it's like to start from scratch more."

Start from scratch: the secretary of state for international development, Justine Greening, the first person in her family to go to univ...

PRIVATE tuition is widening the gap between rich and poor, as more than a third of the wealthiest families in Britain supplement their children's schooling with extra tuition, a new survey suggests.

Extra-curricular Inequalities, a study by the Sutton Trust - set up to improve social mobility through education - suggests that 23 per cent of young people nationally, and 37 per cent in London, have received private or home tuition.

When broken down by income, using data from the Office for National Statistics, the Trust found that 35 per cent of children from families earning more than £52,000 a year were buying extra activities or tuition for their children, compared with nine per cent of children from poorer homes.

The Trust's study found that pupils at private schools were nearly twice as likely to get private tutoring as those from state schools, giving a "large academic boost [which made] a big difference to their access to the most selective universities, and subsequently to the highest-paying careers".

The study found that parents from professional or administrative backgrounds also signed their children up for out-of-school activities more frequently than parents in manual jobs. Richer parents were likely to spend about £500 a year on extra music, dance, drama, or sporting activities for their children. Research has shown that these extra-curricular activities boosted children's education and career outcomes.

The director of research at the Sutton Trust, Conor Ryan, said: "Inequalities in education don't stop after the school bell has sounded. They extend to the range of private tuition and extra-curricular activities available to children whose parents can afford to pay for them.

"While many schools offer a range of sporting and other activities outside regular school hours, there is still a substantial advantage available to those who can afford it.

"If we are serious about improving social mobility, we must narrow the gap in educational opportunities outside of school as well as within the classroom.

"Offering low-income families vouchers to spend on extra-curricular activities or private tuition would be a step towards this."

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