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Children referred to social care ‘twice as likely to fail GCSE maths or English,’ study shows

CHILDREN referred to social care are twice as likely to fail English or maths GCSE than their peers, a charity has warned.

Action for Children blasted the “worrying attainment gap” and said young people in need of social care are often “shockingly overlooked.”

The organisation’s analysis of 1.6 million children’s results across England from 2019 to 2021 reveals that, on average, more than half — 53 per cent — of teenagers who had been referred to social care did not achieve at least a grade 4 in either maths or English.

Grade 4 is considered a “standard pass” and is the level students must achieve without needing to resit those subjects.

The findings concluded that, in comparison, less than a quarter — 24 per cent — of students without social care referrals had not passed one of these two subjects.

According to the charity, if children referred to social care achieved at the same rate as their classmates who are not, an extra 35,500 children would have received pass grades at GCSE English and maths each year.

It has demanded that Tory ministers commit to rolling out family help services across all local authorities in England, abolish benefit caps and raise the child element of universal credit by £15 a week. 

The charity’s head of policy and research Joe Lane said: “We fear these young people’s life options are more likely to be limited by their poor academic results.”

The warning came ahead of this year’s GCSE results day for pupils across England and Wales this Thursday.

About 300,000 fewer top grades could be awarded as pre-coronavirus pandemic grading returns, exams regulator Ofqual said yesterday.


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