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The Education Policy Institute And Persistent Poverty



The Education Policy Institute wants to tell us that poorer children are falling further behind richer children in their educations. This is blamed upon the manner in which persistent poverty is rising. At which point we should all give a heartfelt cry of “Bullshit!”.

As The Guardian reports:

The gap between poor pupils and their wealthier classmates in England has stopped narrowing and gone into reverse for the first time in 12 years, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, research has found.

In findings which will pile pressure on ministers to ensure a successful return to school, experts said the gap in primary school attainment has begun to widen because of rising levels of persistent poverty.

That’s the claim.

A key factor, the EPI says, is the rise in the proportion of pupils who live in persistent poverty, up from 34.8% in 2017 to 36.7% two years later.

That’s half the evidence, here’s the other half:

And how can we cry bullshit? By looking at the change in persistent poverty over a longer time period. From the ONS*:

As we can see the achievement gap bears no relation at all to the short term gyrations of the persistent poverty level. So, we cry bullshit therefore.

*Yes, that’s the poverty level in general, not among children alone, but still….



  1. The single biggest factor influencing how children perform in school (other than their own native ability, of course) is whether their parent(s) give a shit or not. The degree to which this might correlate with their poverty is hard to determine.

  2. T | N
    ONE THIRD of school children in poverty. I call bullshit.
    Four million children starving to death in cardboard boxes under bridges? Point to them.

    • ‘Poverty’ in the UK now means not having the latest iPhone/trainers. As Tim has often pointed out, Barbara Castle announced that real poverty had been eliminated back in the 60s.


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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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