Tackling it is the key to improving social mobilityby Peter Lampl / January 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
The world’s English-speaking countries, which include the home nations of Britain and the United States, Australia and Canada, have much in common—culturally, historically, economically. But they are also very different in some ways. And nowhere is this more true than in their national education policies.
But despite the differences between their systems, comparing the education performance of different countries can give us important insights into which school approaches are more effective than others. Our latest piece of research examined a range of international evidence to establish what we know about educational inequality across the English-speaking world.
The findings don’t make comfortable reading for us: the education gaps between children of the most and least educated parents when they start school are bigger in the UK than they are in Canada and Australia. Only the US has a bigger reading gap than us.
Looking at a number of pieces of research, the authors consistently found the difference in reading attainment between the richest and poorest to be biggest in the US, where disadvantaged pupils lag behind their richer classmates by about a year before they even start school. Gaps between those with the most and least educated parents are similar.
We estimate the reading gap to be smaller in the UK, at about eight months. However, educational inequality before school starts is less pronounced in Australia and Canada, where children of the least educated lag behind their more advantaged classmates by an estimated six months.