Too Young to Fail: Giving all children a fair start in life (2013)

Fewer than one in six children from low-income families who have fallen behind by the age of seven will go on to achieve five good GCSEs, including English and maths.

Disadvantaged children go on to face more limited chances in their adult lives. This is in large part because of an enduring ‘achievement gap’: the gap in outcomes between disadvantaged children (in this country measured by uptake of free school meals) and their better-off peers (those not entitled to free school meals).

This gap means that by the time they are seven, nearly 80% of the difference in GCSE results between rich and poor children has already been determined. Given how critical literacy and numeracy are to gaining employment and success in later life, this is of particular concern.


Hollie Warren, and Will Paxton. 2013. Too Young to Fail. Save the Children.