Annual Report 2023

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) Annual Report looks at the state of education in England, with a focus on the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers.

EPI’s 2023 Annual Report compares student attainment in examinations sat in 2022 to the last time examinations took place, in 2019. The report consists of two instalments.

The first, published in October 2023, examined the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers up to the end of secondary school, including pupils eligible for Free School Meals, with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and from different ethnic backgrounds.

The second phase, published in December 2023, builds on this to include students in 16-19 education and those with English as an additional language (EAL), as well as attainment gaps based on gender. This also looks at how the gap between disadvantaged students and their peers varies across regions, local authorities and opportunity areas. 

You can access these phases of the 2023 EPI Annual Report, as well as our Executive Summary, using the links below. 

executive summary

Pre-16 education

16-19 education

geographic disadvantage gaps

Below, you can also find links to EPI’s previous reports on the disadvantage gap:

Covid-19 and disadvantage gaps in England 2021

Covid-19 and Disadvantage gaps in England 2020

2020 EPI Annual Report

2019 EPI Annual Report

2018 EPI Annual Report

2016 EPI Annual Report



Sam Tuckett, Associate Director for Post-16 and skills

Emily Hunt, Associate Director for Social Mobility and Vulnerable Learners 

David Robinson, Director for Post-16 and Skills 

Niccolo Babbini, Researcher



This report has been kindly funded by the Sequoia Trust and Unbound Philanthropy.  

Unbound Philanthropy is an independent private grantmaking foundation that invests in leaders and organizations in the US and UK working to build a vibrant, welcoming society and just immigration system.  


Thank you to Thrive at Five, who supported us to analyse and publish the underlying data which shows the overall attainment levels of pupils aged 5 at a Local Authority Level for the 2021/22 academic year. 


This publication includes analysis of the National Pupil Database (NPD). The Department for Education is responsible for the collation and management of the NPD and is the Data Controller of NPD data. Any inferences or conclusions derived from the NPD in this publication are the responsibility of the Education Policy Institute and not the Department for Education. 

This work contains statistical data from ONS which is Crown Copyright. The use of the ONS statistical data in this work does not imply the endorsement of the ONS in relation to the interpretation or analysis of the statistical data. This work uses research datasets which may not exactly reproduce National Statistics aggregates. The analysis was carried out in the Secure Research Service, part of the Office for National Statistics.