Thursday 12 August 2021 / 1:08 PM Education

Labour responds to today’s GCSE and BTEC results

Pupils on free school meals less than half as likely to get top grades as Labour slams Conservatives’ failure on inequalities

Data released by Ofqual – the Government’s exams regulator – today shows that children on free school meals were less than half as likely to get a Grade 7 (A) or above in their GCSE results today. 

Just under 14 per cent of grades for students on free school meals were Level 7 or above compared with over 31 per cent among their peers, making those eligible for free school meals 57 per cent less likely to achieve a top grade.

The data released shows that private schools have again far outstripped their state counterparts with 62 per cent of private school grades being Level 7 or above, compared to 26 per cent for secondary moderns, a gap which has increased by nearly a fifth over the last four years.

The gap in attainment between students on free school meals and their peers has increased by almost a third since 2019 as the Government’s painfully slow distribution laptops and internet data, and their repeated failure to feed kids on free school meals has hampered their learning throughout the pandemic

Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have also seen a widening attainment gap, with students with SEND seeing fewer than 10 per cent of their grades at top Level 7 and just over half (51 per cent) of grades at Level 4 or above compared to 83 per cent among their peers.


Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Congratulations to every student receiving their GCSE or BTEC results today, these are incredible achievements in truly unprecedented circumstances.

“However, todays results also present a stark warning that the Conservatives are letting down our country. Children on free school meals have been abandoned by this government and students in state schools are again being outstripped by their more advantaged private school peers. These widening attainment gaps are testament to the Conservatives’ failed approach to education.

“The Government has been warned that without action the Covid legacy will be one of widening inequalities, yet their recovery plan is woefully insufficient. Labour has set out a bold recovery plan that would support every child to bounce back from the pandemic. It’s time the Conservatives get behind Labour’s plan and match our ambition for children’s futures.”