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Achievement and entitlement to free school meals

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  • Release date: 8 December 2016
  • Period covered: 2016
  • Next update: December 2017
Data includes tables, graphs and the statistical model depicting the relationship between attainment and free school meals.

This output is either published as a full release (as in 2014) or a set of Excel tables as for this year. The same data is being published, but in a different format. Quality information can be found in the 2014 version of this release.

Key points

  • The performance of pupils eligible for free school meals is consistently improving for every indicator at every key stage. 
  • However, their performance is lower than their non eligible counterparts at all key stages and indicators.
  • The gap in performance has generally narrowed over the last four years at Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 and 3.  
  • The trend is inconsistent at Key Stage 4. The gap fell in 2016 but has alternated between periods of increase and periods of decrease since 2008.
  • The gap in performance increases with key stage level.
  • There is a strong link between achievement and the level of entitlement to free school meals in secondary schools: as the level of FSM entitlement increases, the level of achievement decreases. 


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