Working-class children do worse at school in Britain than in Estonia, Hungary or Greece
Figures show that the poorest 25 per cent of pupils perform worse than those in countries such as Australia, France, Spain and the United States.
A major study shows that Britain was ranked 28th out of 34 nations based on the proportion of deprived children who exceed expectations in exams.
Just a quarter of poor pupils succeed “against the odds” at school – below the international average and behind countries such as Poland, Greece, Mexico, Slovenia and Chile.
The disclosure is made in a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development based on a series of tests sat by a sample of teenagers in countries across the developed world in 2009.
It comes amid continuing concerns over poor levels of social mobility in Britain.
A survey published on Friday found that almost three-quarters of teachers believe their pupils will end up on state benefits when they leave school because of a lack of jobs.
The OECD study said: “Regardless of whether income inequality is high or low, an individual’s skills and abilities are a key factor in determining whether they can get a good job and move up the income ladder.
“Yet in countries with higher income inequality – such as Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States – a child’s future economic standing is often closely related to the income level of his or her parents.
“This suggests that socio-economic background plays a strong role in the development of children’s skills and abilities in these countries.”
The study, based on the results of a reading test, showed that 31 per cent of poor children across the world manage to exceed expectations at school for their social class. In Britain, the proportion falls to 25 per cent.
South Korea was the top-ranked nation, followed by Finland, Japan, Turkey, Canada and Portugal.
Paul ChampionStrategic Project Manager
Mobile: 07540 704920
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