This subsection describes socio-economic inequalities in educational attainment, including those pupils who are eligible for free school meals (a key indicator of socio-economic disadvantage), as well as those classified as ‘disadvantaged’ by the DfE. Instead of using free school meals (FSM) alone as an indicator, DfE classifies pupils as ‘disadvantaged’ if they have been eligible for FSM within the last six years, they have been adopted from care, or they have been looked after continuously for one day or more.

The gap in attainment between pupils eligible for FSM and those not eligible increases across the educational stages. In 2014/15 in Hackney, there was no difference in early years attainment between FSM eligible pupils and those who were not eligible, but at GCSE level there was high inequality – pupils who were not eligible for FSM outperformed their peers who were (Figure 10).

In Hackney in 2014/15, just over half (53%) of ‘disadvantaged’ pupils achieved five or more GCSE A*-C grades including English and mathematics, compared to over two thirds (69%) of all other pupils (including pupils for whom information on disadvantage could not be determined).

A level results are not available by FSM indicator or disadvantaged pupils’ indicator

Figure 10: Educational attainment levels and qualifications in Hackney over the life course, by Free School Meal (FSM) status (2014/15)

Inequalities emerge from age 11 and stabilise at age 16 with 15% higher performance by those not eligible for free meals
Figure 10: Educational attainment levels and qualifications in Hackney over the life course, by Free School Meal (FSM) status (2014/15)

Sources: Department for Education