The Education Secretary, Justine Greening, highlighted some areas of the country with an "entrenched disadvantage" - where low skills and poor employment were found in a downward spiral alongside underachieving schools.
The EPI report, 'Closing the Gap?' acknowledged the disadvantage gap had been entrenched in the education system for generations. It found the attainment gap between persistently poor pupils and their non-disadvantaged peers had widened by 0.3 months to 24.3 months over the past decade. It adds: "At current trends, we estimate that it would take around 50 years for the disadvantage gap to close completely by the time pupils take their GCSEs."
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers' union, said factors common among pupils who are falling behind include child poverty, insecure housing, poor physical and mental health among families and job insecurity. "These have all seen an increase as a result of the government's austerity programme and reforms to welfare."
National Union of Teachers assistant general secretary Avis Gilmore said unless investment and the correct interventions are in place, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers would continue. "Local authorities and schools are being starved of cash resulting in the closure of - or cutbacks to - many essential support services for those pupils most in need."