Brand new maps, same old story

Maps 1 and 2: Percentage of KS2 pupils reaching the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths (2017)
Maps 3 and 4: Percentages of KS2 pupils reaching the expected standard in Reading and Maths (2017)
Maps 5 and 6: Percentages of disadvantaged and previously low-attaining KS2 pupils reaching the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths (2017)
Maps 7 and 8: Mean Attainment 8 score and percentage of pupils achieving 5 good GCSEs (2017)
Maps 9 and 10: Mean Attainment 8 score and percentage of pupils achieving 5 good GCSEs (2017)
Maps 11 and 12: Mean Attainment 8 scores of disadvantaged and previously low-attaining pupils (2017)
Maps 13 and 14: Percentages of KS4 pupils taking Biology, Chemistry and Physics, or taking more than one language (2017)
Maps 15 and 16: Percentage of pupils staying in education or employment after Key Stage 4 (2017)
So there we have it: England continues to be a country in which your chances of doing well at school vary a great deal depending on where you live. But the patterns in primary and secondary education are rather different, suggesting that these disparities may not all be caused by underlying social factors such as poverty and ethnicity. Yet for all the new measures now available to us, and for all the time that has passed since 2010, when England's education data started to became openly available, this overall picture has changed depressingly little.

  1. Some might claim that this is due in part to the unreliability of the baseline measures established at age 7, though it's not obvious why this should create such stark regional patterns.
  2. In particular, '5 good GCSEs' is a threshold measure in which each pupils is either included or excluded. This creates perverse incentives for schools to focus on children who are close to the threshold and results in the loss of information about higher- and lower-achieving pupils. Attainment 8 is a continuous measure in which all pupils at every attainment level are included, so it doesn't share the same shortcomings.
  3. The colours in this map have been reversed to make the comparison easier: red corresponds to high levels of poverty and blue to low levels.

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