Liberal Democrats have slammed the growing inequality in Bristol's schools following the release of an Education Policy Institute (EPI) report today. The report shows that it would take over 500 years to close the gap between disadvantaged secondary school pupils and their peers at its current rate.
The damning report shows a widening disadvantage gap in Bristol's schools. The report states that there is a currently a 6 month disadvantage gap for early years children, one of only 17 local authorities at this severe a level.
The gap increases to 10.3 months in primary school and 20.7 months for secondary school children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The share of disadvantaged students at early years level in Bristol is 16.4%, for primary schools this goes up to over a third (35.9%) and in secondary schools 32.2%.
The EPI report also shows that level of persistent disadvantaged students in primary schools to be 14.1% and 13.9% in secondary schools in Bristol.
Commenting on the alarming findings, James Cox, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, said:
"Inequality in Bristol is growing and in no other place is this more apparent than in our schools. Sadly, for far too many pupils, it is their background that will be the biggest determining factor of how they do at school. The Education Policy Institute report released today shows that destructive inequality of opportunity is growing in our education system.
"These shocking findings show us that the Conservative Government’s school spending cuts are failing our children. School budgets are not allowing our teachers the resources they need to give all children the opportunities to succeed in life. These cuts are essentially segregating our schools and not providing equality of opportunity for all students.
"There is no better investment in Bristol's future than investment in education. That is why the Liberal Democrats would devote nearly £7 billion extra to our children’s education nationally. We will increase school budgets and the Pupil Premium to ensure that those from disadvantaged backgrounds in Bristol have the same opportunities as those from the most privileged."