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OPSN Report – Lack of options: how a pupil's academic choices are affected by where they live

A report published by the Open Public Services Network (OPSN) shows that subjects being provided at a given school can vary greatly across the country and that young people in poor neighbourhoods are either denied access or strongly encouraged not to take up certain subjects.

The report raises concerns that pressure on schools to perform well in league tables has influenced the spread of courses on offer. This pressure, other than pupil wants and needs, is determining courses available. Along with data findings for triple science and languages, the report notes: 'you [students] are most likely to be entered for an art and design GCSE in Portsmouth and least likely in Kingston upon Hull, where is four times less likely.'

Roger Taylor, Chair of OPSN and RSA Fellow, said: “These data show that children’s educational opportunities are defined by where they live. Our worry is that these differences reflect decisions made by schools based on calculations as to how schools can appear better on league tables. The evidence suggests that in areas where most children are expected to do less well in exams, the educational opportunities for all children are being restricted.”

Read more and download the full report here.