Wales

Concentrations of poor children

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Almost half of all the primary school children who are eligible for free school meals are concentrated in a fifth of the schools, a similar proportion to a decade ago.
  • Because of this concentration, the perception of poor children in primary schools is that there are many more poor children than there actually are.  For example, those eligible for free school meals have, on average, 28% of the pupils in their school eligible for free school meals whereas those not eligible for free school meals have, on average, 16% of the pupils in their school eligible for free school meals.
  • Poor children are much more concentrated in primary schools than in secondary schools.
  • In some authorities (parts of the Valleys plus Cardiff), a third or more of the primary schools have a high proportion of their pupils eligible for free school meals.  In other authorities, there are very few such primary schools.

Definitions and data sources

This indicator tries to measure the extent to which poor children are concentrated in particular schools.

The first graph shows the proportion of children eligible for free school meals who are in the fifth of local education primary schools with the highest concentrations of such children.

For the latest year, for both primary and secondary schools, the second graph shows that:

  • For children in primary schools eligible for free school meals, an average of 28% of the children in the school are eligible for free school meals.
  • For children in primary schools not eligible for free school meals, an average of 16% of the children in the school are eligible for free school meals.
  • For children in secondary schools eligible for free school meals, an average of 21% of the children in the school are eligible for free school meals.
  • For children in secondary schools not eligible for free school meals, an average of 15% of the children in the school are eligible for free school meals.

The third graph shows how the proportion of local education primary schools which are in the fifth of schools with the highest proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals varies by local authority.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average of the latest three years.

The data source for all the graphs is calculations based on school and teacher statistics from the Welsh Assembly Government.

Pupils entitled to free school meals are those within families who receive Income Support (IS) or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (IBJSA).  Those within families who receive support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 may also be entitled.  Children who receive IS or IBJSA in their own right are also entitled to receive free school meals.  Also entitled are children whose parents or carers receive Child Tax Credit, do not receive Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by the HM Revenue & Customs) of below £14,155 (in 2006).

Overall adequacy of the indicator: limited.  While the underlying data is sound, its relationship to other aspects of poverty and social exclusion is not immediately clear.