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Poorer students 'less likely to receive help with homework'

11/09/2017 Joanna

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are generally receiving less help with their studies outside of school than their richer classmates.

This is according to a new study from the Sutton Trust, which analysed data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment research, finding that 50 per cent of the most disadvantaged 15-year-olds in England said their parents regularly helped with their homework, compared to 68 per cent among better-off students.

The gap between rich and poor students in this regard was shown to be significantly greater in England than in 12 of the other 21 countries taking part in the study, with only Hong Kong, South Korea and Italy having a significantly bigger poverty gap.

Moreover, it was shown that Year 11 pupils in England spend an average of nine-and-a-half hours per week receiving additional instruction, which is significantly less than pupils in 12 of the countries surveyed. Low-achieving pupils from the richest homes spend more than twice as much time in additional instruction as high-achieving pupils from disadvantaged families.

The Sutton Trust's own figures have also shown that students who receive private tuition disproportionately come from better-off backgrounds, with the organisation recommending that schools do more to ensure all pupils can receive similarly strong support.

For example, it was suggested that schools could establish homework clubs to give disadvantaged pupils the extra support they need, while also adopting proven whole-school approaches to parental engagement.

Dr John Jerrim, author of the report, said: "Children of high ability from low-income families are not receiving the kinds of educational opportunities they should.

"More support is needed to ensure these pupils are given vital additional support with their learning in order to keep up with children of similar ability from more affluent backgrounds."

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