Inspiring social change

Attainment at age 16 in England by free school meal status

Attainment at 16 in England is much lower for pupils receiving free school meals

Attainment at age 16 in England by free school meal status

Data source: GCSE and equivalent attainment by pupil characteristics in England, Department for Education

Free school meals are available to children whose parents or guardians are in receipt of an out-of-work benefit. As such, it is a measure of poverty/low income. It is somewhat limited as a measure of poverty in that it typically applies to workless poverty, excluding children in low-income working families.

There are significant differences in the proportions not attaining at least 5 GCSEs A*- C (including English & Maths) by free school meal status. In 2012/13, 62% of pupils who received free school meals did not achieve at least 5 GCSEs A*- C (including English & Maths), compared with 35% of those not receiving free school meals. The fall in the proportion of students not attaining at least 5 GCSEs A*- C has been similar among free school meal and non-free school meal students; a fall of 17 percentage points for free school meal pupils and 15 percentage points for other students.

Updated: 11 March 2014

Related data