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Students from disadvantaged social backgrounds perform worse academically on average than more advantaged students. However, some students and schools from lower socio-economic backgrounds are successful.
Only 3 Australian secondary schools are both disadvantaged and high-achieving. In contrast, 21 Australian primary schools are both disadvantaged and high-achieving. The particular challenges facing disadvantaged secondary schools can be partly explained by the following:
School systems should focus on early literacy and numeracy to help disadvantaged students. Secondary schools should prioritise identifying underachieving students when they enrol. For parents, the implication is that choice of primary school is just as important as — if not more important than — choice of secondary school for their child’s academic success.