A new report published by the Centre for Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE explores the relative improvement in outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in London over the past two decades compared to those elsewhere in the country, the so-called “London Effect”.
The authors use two major datasets, the National Pupil Database and the Millennium Cohort Study, to describe the situation in London. They found that:
Disadvantaged pupils in London generally start primary school at age 5 at a similar level or behind their peers elsewhere in England. The London advantage then generally grows from the period they start school at age 5 through to age 11.
In 1997, about 47% of poorer pupils in both inner London and the rest of England achieved the expected level in English tests at age 11. By 2008, poorer pupils in inner London became 7 percentage points more likely to achieve this standard (75% for inner London compared with 68% for the rest of England).
The performance of disadvantaged pupils in London in exams at age 16 has improved substantially, starting from the mid-1990s onwards, and they are now achieving much higher results at age 16 than disadvantaged pupils outside London.
The characteristics of disadvantaged pupils in London are very different from those outside London, especially in terms of ethnicity. For example, disadvantaged pupils in inner London are much less likely to come from a White-British background (13% in inner London in 2013 as compared with 76% outside of London) and much more likely to come from other ethnic backgrounds.
Disadvantaged pupils in London are also more likely than those outside London to live in a deprived neighbourhood, to attend voluntary aided/controlled schools, less likely to attend foundation schools, and have a peer group that contains more disadvantaged pupils, more pupils from an ethnic minority, and who speak English as an Additional Language.
Source: Understanding the Improved Performance of Disadvantaged Pupils in London (2015), LSE.