The Tail: How England's schools fail one child in five - and what can be done
At the heart of the debate about state-provided education in the UK lies a shocking fact: one child in five leaves school in England without basic skills in literacy and numeracy. Despite the best efforts of reformers and rapidly improving results in academies and elsewhere, even some of the best schools are struggling to help the 'tail' - the lowest-achieving twenty or thirty per cent of pupils. Throughout Britain, other schools, local authorities and even regions are trapped in a rut of low ambition and poor performance and seem unable to address the problem.
The young people in the tail will find it hard to progress to the qualifications they need to get good jobs, and are unlikely to find secure employment. Their blighted lives are a personal tragedy, and one that imposes a wider economic and social cost that increases with every generation.