Kingston’s poorest did nearly twice as badly as richer pupils in their GCSE results in 2012-2013, according to figures from the Department for Education.
Only 38 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals achieved 5 A*-C GCSEs compared to 75 per cent of pupils who did not receive free school meals.
Measured in this way, Kingston is the 9th most unequal borough in the country and is getting worse – the gap has increased by 1 per cent since 2009-2010.
Laurie South, chair of the Kingston and Surbiton Labour Party, said: “We are appalled. Kingston prides itself on its education system but this data show that education in Kingston only benefits those who are already advantaged.”
He added that schools in Kingston are generally located further away from disadvantaged areas like the Cambridge Estate.
David Ryder Mills, Liberal Democrat and the Council’s lead member for schools, said that the gap was a problem but that results for both richer and poorer pupils were improving.
“When so many of your candidates are so outstanding in comparison with other areas, even a significantly above average performance by the free school meal cohort is left trailing,” he said.
He continued that he expected the gap to narrow as poorer students are helped by the Government’s Pupil Premium policy, which gives schools £400 a year for every pupil they have who has been on free school meals in the last six years.
David Cunningham, Conservative lead member for schools, said he was “concerned about the figures” and, whilst he supports the Pupil Premium, “it is not the whole answer and home/school cooperation is also an important element in the solution.”
Image courtesy of Rex Features