And, of these children, nearly 50% achieve no GCSEs above a D grade. The odds against a child eligible for free school meals at a state secondary school being admitted to Oxbridge are 2000-1. For a privately educated child it's 20-1.
This is the reality of education in the UK – children from poorer households do not achieve at the same rate as their wealthier peers, even when they have the ability and aspirations to do so. Their education should work to counter this inequality, rather than entrenching it. And the consequences are far-reaching. In the UK, the lifespans of those in the poorest neighbourhoods are on average nine years shorter than those in the wealthiest, and within these shorter lives people have fewer opportunities, less choice, lower incomes and more health problems.
We believe this is wrong – demographic is not destiny.