We have today released our first Annual Report into the state of English education. The report charts progress towards a series of world-class benchmarks in Early Years, Primary and Secondary education.

You can download the full report here: Education in England: Annual Report 2016

Key findings

  1.  Attainment is improving, but over 60 per cent of secondary and over 40 per cent of primary pupils are still failing to achieve a world-class benchmark.
  2. As a result of the new, more challenging, GCSE examinations in 2017, we expect the number of pupils achieving a ‘good pass’ in English and Maths to drop very significantly.
  3. There is a North/South divide at secondary school, with 44 per cent of pupils reaching a world class benchmark in London, compared with only a third in the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
  4. The gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers remains significant, with 4 out of 5 disadvantaged pupils failing to achieve a world-class standard at secondary and more than half not reaching our primary benchmark.
  5. The relative performance of White British pupils falls as they progress through school. In the Early Years, White British children are among the highest achievers but, by the time they finish secondary school, they fall ten places in the rankings to just below average.
  6. Pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL) make significant strides throughout school.

Following the launch of the Report, Executive Chairman of the Education Policy Institute, David Laws, said:

 “A good education, especially in the Early Years and at primary, can be the single most transformative factor in the life chances of young people, particularly for the most disadvantaged.

“Today’s report demonstrates that, while we are seeing some signs of improvement, there is still a long way to go before the education system performs at a world-class standard. This is especially the case outside of London and for disadvantaged pupils.”


Executive Director and Head of Research at the Education Policy Institute, Natalie Perera, also said:

“Our report highlights that over 60 per cent of secondary and over 40 per cent of primary pupils are still failing to achieve a world-class benchmark that would put England on par with leading education systems such as Finland and Canada.”

“While the gap between the most disadvantaged pupils and the rest is generally closing, we still find that, by the end of secondary school, disadvantaged pupils are, on average, almost 2 academic years behind their peers.”

“Over the coming year, the Education Policy Institute will be expanding its research into the deep-rooted and complex challenges that our education system must address if it is going to perform at a world-class benchmark.”