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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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Steve Goodman

    4.Aug.2017 10:39pm

    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.

  2. 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 behind, maybe there will be more time to advance the education of others and increase the outcomes for all.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      5.Aug.2017 6:09pm

      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.

        • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

          5.Aug.2017 7:30pm

          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?

  3. Rockhopper

    5.Aug.2017 9:26am

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

  4. 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 Authority but wasn’t; hence the need to allow Hampshire to run the island’s education. Shameful but true.

  5. 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 their own field, have got on ok and similarly my grandchildren are benefiting from the education of life offered on the Isle of Wight. Ofsted please note

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      11.Aug.2017 9:16am


      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 proactive and taking up the issue of poor teaching with the school and, in one case, actually moving school have my children obtained the results they have. I have also paid for additional tuition to offset poor in-school teaching.

      “Getting on OK”, frankly, is not good enough.

  6. 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.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      11.Aug.2017 6:13pm

      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?

  7. 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 Know, because I made that choice 3 years ago. Despite knowing the Island very well over more than 30 years I could not commit on retirement to a life here. The crossing costs and time are only a part of the reasoning. The insularity of society here is another big reason.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      11.Aug.2017 8:48pm


      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 retire elsewhere and leave discussion of a fixed link to people who live here. After all, perhaps we would be less insular if we were able to get on and off the Island whenever the hell we like at a reasonable cost.

      • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

        12.Aug.2017 7:49am

        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

          12.Aug.2017 10:40am

          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 money, needlessly harming existing vital jobs, businesses, and homes; no mention of people being put off by things like last month’s serious prolonged RF faulty ferry chaos.

          Again – topic off in the unresolved FL ‘debate’ direction; when MP Bob is less burdened by the ‘vital’ beer and broadband issues perhaps he and his pals with power could do something useful about important Island disadvantages like those in education, transport, and foodbank dependency.

          • 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 already installed a vast number of fibre optic boxes on the island… Still, Tories claiming credit for something that was happening anyway… There’s a surprise…

  8. 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 the ferry.
    And still it has not recovered its cost.

    In any event my comment about the fixed link was an aside. The key point is to address the education issues more forcefully.

    • 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.

  9. 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 Merseyside. (I am not a UKIP supporter but I wanted to see for myself what they were like, rather than what the media tells me).

    The meeting here was 90% about the ferries, to which the UKIP responded with some truly nonsense ideas.

    The UKIP meeting on the mainland was completely different. Yes some local issues were discussed, but most of the time was on immigration, jobs and the economy.

    • “I am not trying to insult people.”

      Well unfortunately you have.

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

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      12.Aug.2017 5:18pm

      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 IW wages, yes?

      And you accuse us natives of being “insular” despite most of the support for a fixed link being from us “insular” natives and most of the opposition being from elderly retiree “immigrants”.

      And you think that gives you the right to dictate to those of us who *are* trying to make a living here how to live our lives”?

      So, yeah, you are being *extremely* insulting. If that is your attitude to locals I *strongly* suggest you find somewhere less “insular” for your holiday home and free it up for someone far more deserving.

  10. 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 people I know who have retired here and encountered the same thing.
    As for the fixed link my point is YOU ARENT GOING TO GET ONE, and in the event that you did it would not produce what you expect,
    But all the time this debate goes on, energy is consumed which could be used more profitably on other things.

    • Suruk the Slightly Miffed

      15.Aug.2017 8:08am

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


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

  11. 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 link will not happen, it is undesirable, unaffordable and completely impracticable. Our Island generally welcomes people with your common sense attitude. we are a special place and people. StSM may be Island bred but, in my humble opinion has lost the plot big time. We are an Island, let us remain an Island and cherish that fact!

    • Steve Goodman

      15.Aug.2017 9:22am

      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 very many other such constructions. Our race generally welcomes people with common sense attitude(s). (W)e are people divided roughly 50/50 by the IOW FL idea. G. may be Island bred but, in my humble opinion has lost the plot big time. Britain is a group of Islands now with FLs large and small; let us cherish that fact!

  12. Suruk the Slightly Miffed

    15.Aug.2017 8:31am

    Oh, the pure irony of that comment.

  13. 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, again creating obstructions to shipping. If it was car to train, as in Eurotunnel, it would add 30-45 minutes to the crossing time. The Eurotunnel example also rests on the track being used by another source of revenue- in that case, Eurostar. It seems unlikely any train operator would be interested in investing in building a link to (say) Newport.
    There would also be enormous issues dealing with the spoil.

    Two issues additionally with both modes

    Any such structure would require approach roads on either side. The shortest crossing is probably on West Wight to Lymington area, but the majority of drivers would probably only be interested if it exited on the M3/M27.

    Then there is the funding. I can’t see any UK government building it. I also don’t see a private business doing so given the above problems and the issue that they would probably never get their money back or only over a very long timescale. they would insist on crossing fees being at the current ferry levels.

    And, after all the above, what effect on the ferry companies? Because their model is largely fixed-cost, they cannot respond to competition from a fixed link by dropping fares. If they did, it would probably ruin them. Some people might applaud that, but I suspect it would not be the best outcome for the Island.

    Comparing a bridge to the Severn bridge, is misleading. The distance to be bridged is much less over the Severn, and they do not have the complication of obstructing shipping.

  14. Sally Perry

    15.Aug.2017 12:19pm

    Although I can see how the subject of a fixed link might arise when discussing education and disadvantaged backgrounds, please can we bring the discussion on this article back on topic.

    Readers wanting to take part in or follow debate on education may not want to wade through FL discussions.

    There are plenty of other articles specifically about Fixed Link where you can have these debates.

    Thank you.

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