Prof. Sinead Brophy, Rhiannon Griffiths – Swansea University
Previous research shows that socioeconomic factors such as free school meal eligibility, family background and neighbourhood have a significant effect on children’s educational attainment at their key stage 2 (KS2) exams. This study aims to examine data from a multitude of domains (socioeconomic, school, health) to determine what effects a child’s educational attainment at KS2 in Wales.
A sample of 254,049 Welsh children who sat KS2 exams between 2009 and 2016 were used for analysis in this study. Data was accessed from the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank. We collected demographic data (gender, birth weight, household members etc), family difficulty data (parents attending hospital for alcohol or mental health conditions), school data (attendance, special education needs, KS2 results) and health data on a range of disorders (asthma, conduct disorder, epilepsy, mental health conditions etc). We measured this data against whether or not a child met the standard achievement rates of pupils at KS2 (achieving at least a level 4 at both Maths and English).
Factors which had the most detrimental effect on attainment were children flagged for special education needs, conduct disorder, undetermined self-harm, epilepsy and who had a parent previously hospitalised for a mental health condition. Those factors that positively impacted on educational attainment were a higher birthweight and smaller family units.
Our research shows those children which are most at risk of not achieving the required standard at KS2. This is vital information for those developing evidence-based interventions aimed at improving attainment results at primary school. Identifying children with the above health conditions, those from vulnerable families with the right interventions early on can potentially have a great impact on a child’s educational attainment.
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