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RSA´s report

Children who change schools do worse in exams

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Moving schools many times has a devastating impact on pupils´ grades and the numbers of children affected are set to grow, according to a report published on Monday.

Figures from the RSA thinktank show the decline in attainment increases with each change of school outside the traditional first years of primary and secondary education in England.

The authors of the RSA´s report say the problem may disproportionately affect children from disadvantaged backgrounds as benefit cuts force poorer families to seek cheaper accommodation and end up being pushed into lower-performing schools with unfilled places. According to the RSA´s calculations, a child´s chances of achieving the government´s benchmark of five good GCSE results drops markedly with each change of school.

While 62% of children who did not move schools got five GCSEs with marks between A* and C, only 44% of those who moved once in the previous four years did so. Among those who moved three times, just 27% gained the government´s target of five good GCSE results.

The research comes as the government has increased its pupil premium payment to tackle underachievement among disadvantaged children to £1,300 per child. The chief inspector of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has called for a renewed effort on closing the attainment gap that blights students from poorer families.

The report recommends among other ideas that local authorities should provide better information for parents and families aimed at discouraging unnecessary moves, and schools and local authorities should try to ensure that the most vulnerable undersubscribed schools are not forced to admit an excessive number of in-year movers.

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