Pupils from small towns have better educational attainment than in larger towns like Gainsborough research shows
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The study followed the fortunes of state school pupils who sat their GCSEs in 2012/13, looking at how many went on to get A-levels, degrees and other qualifications.
It is the first time much of this data has been gathered at individual town level, and shows people from smaller towns have better educational attainment, on average, than those who grow up in larger towns or cities.
Data on an individual’s attainment in later years was related back to the town they lived in when they sat their GCSEs, even if they moved away afterwards.
Richard Prothero, of the ONS, said: “It’s the first time ONS has looked at young people’s educational attainment by the size of town in which they went to school.
“Those in smaller towns generally did better than those in larger towns, while those in cities, other than London and Brighton and Hove, typically had lower attainment than those in towns.
“One reason for this may be the link between levels of deprivation and educational attainment as there tends to be more deprivation in larger towns and cities than in small towns.”
To compare towns, the ONS used a score to summarise the educational attainment of young people at different points throughout their education.
A score of 0 is the average score of all areas, while negative scores reflect poorer than average performance, and positive scores mean better than average attainment.
Gainsborough, which is classed as a medium town, got -4.9.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This analysis demonstrates how closely aligned educational outcomes are to levels of deprivation.
“Raising attainment is therefore dependent not only on ensuring that schools in areas of high deprivation are well supported and resourced, but also on wider efforts to tackle poverty and improve local economies.”
He called on the government to "work with schools, colleges, local authorities, other agencies and businesses to revive these areas and give families better opportunities”.