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Education Select Committee: Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

06 May 2020

The Education Committee is to investigate the issues faced by disadvantaged groups, with an initial inquiry into the educational underachievement of white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds including white working class pupils.

This inquiry will examine the extent of the achievement gap between this group and their peers and how it is measured, alongside a consideration of the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will also look at what the priorities should be for tackling this issue.

Terms of reference

The Committee is inviting submissions on the following questions:

  • The extent of underachievement for white pupils who are eligible for FSM (free school meals), and how well the DfE’s statistics (including Progress 8 measures) capture that

  • The variation within the cohort of white pupils who are eligible for FSM (including regional variation, and variation between the five specific ethnic groups that sit under the broad ‘White’ category), and how well the DfE’s statistics capture that

  • The principal factors that contribute to this underachievement, with reference to:
    - The availability and quality of early years provision
    - The role of place (reflecting regional variations)
    - The home learning environment
    - The impact of role models

  • The effects of COVID-19 on this group

  • The impacts of this underachievement, both for individuals and for communities

  • Priorities for the Government in terms of tackling this issue, with reference to:
    - The value of locally-tailored solutions, including youth groups and community organisations
    - The school system

 More information can be found here

 Read the initial Call for Evidence

Getting Involved

The BPS is reliant upon the expert psychological expertise of our members in order to provide evidence based responses to a whole range of stakeholders including Government departments and Policy decision makers.

Send your comments to [email protected] using the response form.

The deadline for responses is the end of play on Monday 25 May.

Please note:

  • The society will only produce ONE response to any consultation.
  • Any response that goes under the society logo MUST be signed off by the relevant Board Chair and Branch Chair in the case of Devolved Nations.
  • Responses on behalf of particular Divisions / Faculties / Member Networks are not permitted under any circumstances.
  • Please do refer to the British Psychological Society Consultation Processes document which is attached before writing and sending any comments
  • Please ensure that all comments are based on Published Evidence and not solely on clinical opinion


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