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White working class boys from poor neighbourhoods face a 'double disadvantage' of low family income and place poverty linked to their wider community. This significantly reduces their likelihood of academic study after GCSE, according to new research by Oxford University published by the Sutton Trust.

Why so few poor white working class boys go on to take a levels

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Just 29% of this group will continue to take AS, A levels or another qualification after GCSE, compared with around half (45%) of white working class boys living in more affluent areas and two-thirds (68%) of boys from more advantaged families.

The report, Background to Success, by Professor Pam Sammons, Dr Katalin Toth and Professor Kathy Sylva from the University's Department of Education looks at how gender, ethnicity and place shape academic outcomes and draws on data from more than 3,000 young people who have been tracked through school since the age of three for the Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE) project.

The report finds that boys are significantly less likely to carry on with academic study than girls. Two- thirds of girls take AS, A levels or another qualification compared with 55% of all boys. The attainment gap between poorer girls and their richer peers, while still significant, is also slightly less marked for girls than boys, with over half (55%) of disadvantaged girls going on to further study compared with three-quarters (77%) of the non-disadvantaged group.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)