Closing the ‘disadvantage gap’ in England will take more than a century, education thinktank the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has claimed.

According to the EPI’s ‘Education in England’ annual report, it will take more than a century for disadvantaged children – defined as those eligible for Pupil Premium – to catch up with their peers at GCSE Level.

The study found that in the early years, the gap between poorer and wealthier children was 4.3 months but by the end of secondary school, this had grown to 18.4 months.

The report also found that pupils from black Caribbean background are, on average around five months behind their white British peers by the end of secondary school, though those from black African backgrounds were slightly ahead.

Comment on the findings, David Laws, executive chairman of the EPI, said: “There is a serious risk that trends in child poverty and financial pressures on education services upon which poor children depend could impede further progress to make out comes in English education more equal. If this happens then it will be difficult to make gains in improving social mobility.”