The ‘London Effect’ – new research shows increased progress of pupils in London compared to the rest of England

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The Department for Education has published a new report on the ‘London Effect’ using data from the first and second cohorts of the Longitudinal Study of Young People (LSYPE). The report explores the factors behind the London Effect and how they impact attainment.

The ‘London Effect’ is a catch-all term for the increased progress and attainment of pupils in London compared to the rest of England, and particularly in pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The possibility of replicating this success in the rest of England is of continued interest to the Department for Education. This report proposes significant advances in our understanding of the London Effect as it examines a broader range of factors than previous studies. This includes characteristics of the young person themselves, their family, and peers; the schools they attended, and the areas in which they lived.

Key findings:

  1. In 2015, disadvantaged pupils in London had an average best 8 score that was 46.7 points higher than that of disadvantaged pupils in the rest of England – the equivalent of around eight GCSE grades.
  2. Disadvantaged pupils’ home environment and attitudes to education are the most important drivers in creating a London advantage in educational outcomes, more so than demographic differences. Specifically, differences in parents’ expectations of their child going on to study at university and their engagement in their child’s education, the number of hours spent by young people on homework, the young people’s academic self-belief and their own plans for taking part in education and training post-16 between London and the rest of England were important drivers of the advantage.
  3. While previous analysis was able to highlight the association of London’s ethnic diversity with the London advantage, this analysis is able to show that the positive home environment and attitudes to education of disadvantaged pupils from many ethnic minority backgrounds are a fundamental part of this relationship.
  4. The size of the London attainment advantage amongst disadvantaged pupils narrowed by the equivalent of almost two GCSE grades between 2006 and 2015 (reducing from 56.9 to 46.7 best 8 GCSE points).
  5. Increasing levels of confidence among disadvantaged pupils in the rest of England, relatively higher expectations of their parents, and reduced levels of truancy and risky behaviours may have contributed to this reduction in the London advantage over time. It is notable that these generational changes are found in disadvantaged pupils living outside of London, and not only in the cohort as a whole.
  6. We cannot be sure that any of the relationships found are causal because our data is observational rather than experimental. The consistent importance of these factors over time however strengthens the robustness of the findings.

Read the full report on the gov.uk website

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