Isle of Wight disadvantaged kids 2.5 years behind when they sit GCSEs

Isle of Wight pupils from disadvantaged background are really being let down. They leave secondary school on average nearly 2.5 years behind attainment of Mainland non-disadvantaged peers – that’s a 13.5 yo vs a 16 yo.


A report by the Education Policy Institute has revealed shocking attainment gaps for children from disadvantaged backgrounds educated on the Isle of Wight.

The report reveals that Island children from disadvantaged backgrounds will leave school with the educational attainment almost two and a half years behind their national peers.

It states that on the Isle of Wight,

Disadvantaged pupils are well over two years (29 months) behind their peers by the end of secondary school.

The gap (in months) has been measured by comparing the attainment of disadvantaged pupils from the Isle of Wight at the end of their secondary school education, against the national average attainment for non-disadvantaged pupils.

Control removed from IWC
Children’s Services on the Isle of Wight was rated as Indequate by Ofsted during the 2009-2013 IWC Conservative administration.

The same administration chose to carry out a massive reorganisation of the Island’s school system, changing from three tier to two tier – labelled by many at the time as a mistake (too fast).

The Ofsted rating led to a directive from Government forcing the Isle of Wight to hand over control of children’s services and education to another authority.

Just over four years ago a partnership agreement with Hampshire County Council was signed.

Not enough improvement
Although many improvements have been made in that time (IWC moved out up from Inadequate status in less than two years), not enough change had been made to avoid the Island having the largest gap for those from disadvantaged backgrounds leaving secondary school.

Stewart: Acknowledges “children have been badly let down”
Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, who was a member of the Isle of Wight council Cabinet when the damning Ofsted report was delivered in 2013, said today,

“As the new Conservative administration of the Isle of Wight Council, elected in May, we have acknowledged that in the past our children have been badly let down.

“We have set out in detail our school improvement plans in our recent publication Delivering Educational Excellence and are determined that over the next four years all our schools will be good or outstanding.”

Disadvantage gap “entrenched for generations”
Looking at the national picture, the report concludes,

“There has been some progress in closing the gap for disadvantaged pupils in England over the last decade. It has not, however, been either fast, or consistent.

“It remains the case that, on average, a disadvantaged pupil falls two months behind their peers for each year of their time at secondary school and, by the end of school, that disadvantaged pupil is almost two years behind.

“This is not a new societal problem. The disadvantage gap has been entrenched in our education
system for generations.”

New intense project to be launched
Cllr Stewart added,

“Our Hampshire officers recently worked with Ofsted to feed in their experience to a new toolkit on working with disadvantaged children, which has been sent to every school in Southern England.

“They will also shortly be launching with us an intense project, focussing on disadvantage, that has been developed using national research.”

Andre: Our children deserve high quality education
Education spokesperson for the Island Independents Group, Cllr Debbie Andre, said,

“This is an issue that affects not only the Island, but many areas around the country, which were also highlighted in the report such as Darlington, Derby, Luton, South Tyneside and Thurrock. There are common factors that affect performance such as child poverty, lack of affordable housing, poor standards of physical and mental health and job insecurity.

“The government’s austerity measures and welfare reforms, which have increased the social divide, have had the effect of disadvantaging families at the lower end of the pay scale.

“We need government to recognise teachers for the professionals that they are, not only in terms of pay structure, but in giving them the resources that they need to deliver the high quality of education that our children deserve.”

The report
Full details can be found in the report below.

Image: Artem Popov under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 4th August, 2017 6:50pm



Filed under: Education, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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32 Comments on "Isle of Wight disadvantaged kids 2.5 years behind when they sit GCSEs"

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Steve Goodman

Also a reminder that the disgraced Private Eye Rotten Boroughs content provider and officially former council education cabinet member has apparently not been disadvantaged by his alleged need to step down and spend more time writing about ethics, as demonstrated by his continuing official commenting (TV, CP, and presumably elsewhere) on this and other educational matters.

Perhaps those wanting holidays in term-time might wish to consider the bigger picture and accept that to get an academic education then the pupils need to be in school. For some, once they have fallen behind, it is very difficult to catch up. 195 days for school per year leaves 170 days for everything else. If staff do not have to play catch up for those falling… Read more »

Oh, do give it a rest.

Studies show that children who take term time breaks usually achieve better than average results. Look it up.


Perhaps you should give it a rest.

Alternative truth doesn’t help.


It’s not an “alternative truth” , Colin. It’s the actual truth. Witnessed by the fact that I have one child who obtained all As and A+s at A levels and the other in top sets for GCSEs.

As an aside. When was the last time you had anything to do with raising children, and how did *they* perform at school?


What is the figure for the Mainland disadvantaged children, please?

Colin this is absolutely nothing to do with term time holidays. It is to do with real and endemic truancy which was never properly addressed by our woeful Education Welfare Service, poor teaching, lack of aspiration from teachers, parents and pupils, poor leadership by inadequate headteachers and poor governance all in combination over a number of years. This should have been addressed by the incompetent Local Education… Read more »

It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, unauthorised absence is not helping.

Education begins at home. Its no good blaming the teachers and the schools. Parental bad attitude towards the service on offer feeds through to the children and also these irrelevant tables, that some non teaching pen pushers put together. Why do we need an ‘intense project’ and how much money will be wasted on it? My brothers and I have got on ok. My children, each in… Read more »
Rubbish. My children have obtained their excellent results because I did not stand for poorly performing schools and teachers. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent teachers on the IW, but there are also some who are completely unfit to teach. From a complete inability to control the class to teaching the wrong syllabus for an entire term, I have seen it all. Only by being… Read more »

Although there are some contributors expressing strongly-held views I don’t see the passion overall on the Island to change this.
Doing something about this is central to the Island’s survival. There isn’t going to be a fixed link, and to attract jobs to the Island there needs to be above-average education here, not below-average.


The irony, then, that we aren’t going to attract jobs to the IW, including the best teachers, while the ferry companies hold us to ransom.

Would you move here to work or teach knowing that if, for example, an elderly parent is taken ill it will take *hours* just to get off the IW?

There is a myth that a fixed link would change that. Setting aside all of the engineering and environmental problems, any fixed link would have to charge extremely high fees to recover its costs. Meanwhile of the ferry operators lost traffic to a fixed link, their prices would go UP rather than down. Anyone moving to the Island has to make a serious life style choice. I… Read more »


That is merely your opinion.

The severn bridge charges £6.70 for a car and £20 for heavy goods. Assuming for a moment that the cost of a tunnel would be more, £10 for a car and £30 for heavy goods and coaches seems like a reasonable guess. Even if it were double that, it still works out cheaper than ferries. Meanwhile, since you think our society to be insular, I suggest you… Read more »

It isn’t actually the absolute cost that is the primary problem with the ferries. The main problems are ones of frequency and reliability, with the fare lottery a close 3rd.

If I could cross at the time of my choosing with a flat, fixed fare that is at or about £40 each way, I’d be very happy.

Steve Goodman
The fair fares and reliability which would make many of us happy didn’t feature in Red F. boss Kevin’s public enquiry evidence, unlike his insistence that travellers would only be delighted by a bigger car park beyond the land previously seized for parking by RF. According to Kev, repeat visits to the Island won’t happen without giving in to RF’s greedy grab of other people’s land and… Read more »
Havnt you heard? The council will be making sure every school is good. Not sure how they can manage it given the academies are not under their control and Hampshire are running education for the rest. Perhaps Bob came up with a solution whilst down the pub with his mates using free WiFi cause the broadband is so slow and expensive. Except wait, it’s not… BT have… Read more »
The Skye bridge is not a valid comparison, not least because of the government involvement. A more relevant example is the Channel Tunnel. Given vehicles have to travel aboard a train, total time to cross is not that far from the ferry duration. But it also gets revenue from Eurostar, for which there would be no comparable arrangement here.It also costs as much, and usually more, than… Read more »

Well I mentioned the severn bridge not the Skye bridge. A reasonable comparison.

Meanwhile, since you can’t be bothered to read what I say accurately and have no intention of retiring somewhere so insular, I really can’t be bothered to argue with you. Next time you want to make a point, try not insulting people.

I am not trying to insult people. I have been coming here for more than 30 years and now have a home here. So it is based on some experience. Backed up by other people I know who have retired here and who also struggle with the insularity of people. An example for you. In the 2015 election I attended a UKIP meeting here and one in… Read more »

“I am not trying to insult people.”

Well unfortunately you have.

Judging all Islanders by some who attended a UKIP meeting… how utterly ridiculous.

So, considering that you earlier stated that you “could not commit on retirement to a life here” and now claim to “now have a home here”, I take it this is a second / holiday home, yes? So you are one of those people who buy up housing stock, pushing prices up out of the reach of people trying to live, work and bring up families on… Read more »
Where have I insulted you? You jump to conclusions. No, Not a holiday home. We have two homes and spend time roughly equally between them. I have been coming here regularly for about FORTY years. I have known hundreds of people here. We might have to agree to disagree about the insularity otherwise I would have to bore you to death with many examples and quotes from… Read more »

Because writing things in block capitals makes them true, eh?


Yeah, you are absolutely right. It *does* work.

Mr Greenhey – or that could very well be Miss,Ms, As an Islander tracing back to mid 1700s I welcome you and your common sense ideas. StSM is known for her/his over the top remarks and “I know better than any of you lesser beings” attitudes. Please ignore him/her, we regular readers at On the Wight generally do! You are quite right to acknowledge that a fixed… Read more »
Steve Goodman
As a human tracing back to something single celled I welcome increased intelligence. StSM is known for welcome informative and entertaining contributions here. Please look at what is written and decide for yourself, as we regular readers at On the Wight generally do! G. is quite wrong to assert that a fixed link will not happen (because) it is no more undesirable, unaffordable or completely impracticable than… Read more »

Oh, the pure irony of that comment.

A bridge Would have to such that shipping could pass through. That either means an open/close mechanism that would be really expensive and delay journeys or it would have to be so high it would dominate the Solent landscape, and require long approach roads. It would also need pillars in the river, providing a hazard to shipping. A tunnel If it was drive through, would need ventilation,… Read more »

Ironically, if we were staying in the EU there might have been more chance!