Stephen Gorard

Professor of Education and Public Policy
Speaking at


The North South divide and other damaging myths in education

This session considers the links between different ways of assessing disadvantage at school and subsequent qualification outcomes at age 16 in England. Our previous work has compared variables that represent recent snapshots of disadvantage (such as eligibility for FSM) with longer term summary variables, and found the latter to improve measures of both social segregation between schools and explanations of raw-score differences in attainment. This new work takes an even more detailed longitudinal approach, modelling the course of successive age cohorts of through their entire schooling to the age of 16 and beyond in 29 distinct analytical steps. The steps represent stages such as what is known about each pupil when they were born, who they attended school with at age 10, and where they lived at age 14. Key predictors are poverty and special educational needs at age 5, and throughout schooling. With predictors fed into the model in life order, there is little evidence of differential progress for different language and ethnic minority groups, and no evidence of regional differences or a type of school effect. Those present can then discuss and co-engineer the implications of these results for assessing disadvantage for practitioners and policy-makers.


Stephen Gorard is Professor of Education and Public Policy, and Director of the Evidence Centre for Education, Durham University ( He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, member of the British Academy grants panel, and Lead Editor for Review of Education. His work concerns the robust evaluation of education as a lifelong process, focused on issues of equity, especially regarding school intakes. He is author of around 30 books and over 1,000 other publications. He is funded by the ESRC to investigate measures of educational disadvantage and how such measures can be used for educational improvement.