Today the DCSF published statistics on GCSE attainment by pupil characteristics for 2008-09. It breaks down GCSE results according to gender, ethnicity, free school meal (FSM) entitlement, special educational needs (SEN) and English as a first language.

In summary it shows that girls are outperforming boys though the gap between them is narrowing. The figures show that Chinese pupils continue to outperform pupils from other ethnic backgrounds.

The figures also reveal that deprivation continues to shape educational attainment, with pupils who receive free school meals far less likely to achieve 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE than their peers who do not receive free school meals.  However the gap between the two has shrunk on previous years, albeit by 0.6% .

However, as today’s Guardian announces a new gap has emerged, between rural poor pupils and better off pupils from urban areas.  The funding formula may be partly responsible, providing extra resources to schools in urban areas on the basis of deprivation, allowing these schools to provide one to one tuition and study sessions in school holidays.

The Statistical First Release which summarises the figures is available from the DCSF.


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