Commenting following the release of statistics from the Department for Education on the performance of students undertaking A levels and other 16-19 qualifications during the 2022/23 academic year, Sam Tuckett, Associate Director for Post-16 and Skills at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said:
“Today’s 16-19 statistics, at face value, tell a positive story. Disadvantaged students were just under half a grade per A level behind their non-disadvantaged peers in 2022/23, representing a narrowing of the gap since last year, and since it’s peak during the pandemic. However, in reality this only means that the gap is back to the 2019 level for A level students.
“When looking at technical and applied qualifications, which disadvantaged students are relatively more likely to take than A levels, the disadvantage gap is wider now than it was in 2019.
“So whilst there are some encouraging signs for students taking A levels, when considering all qualifications, disadvantaged students may still be further behind than they were before the pandemic.
“To make sustained progress in closing these gaps, there must be increased focus and support for the most disadvantaged students, and those in long term poverty.”