Narrowing the Gap in Outcomes for Vulnerable Groups: Overview and analysis of available datasets on vulnerable groups and the five ECM outcomes

Lesley Kendall, Marian Morris, Simon Rutt, Palak Mehta

06 March 2008

A comprehensive data mapping and analysis study was carried out in September and October 2007. This study sought to:

  • scope, map and assess national and other large datasets relating to the outcomes for vulnerable groups across the five Every Child Matters areas
  • identify what useful and comparable data was and was not readily available and to provide information on the nature, size and extent of any gaps.

Where data was collected at individual child level, it was possible to identify significant gaps in a number of ECM outcomes for children and young people from lower socio-economic groups, for looked after children, for children with special educational needs, for children with poor attendance, for those who had been excluded from school and for children and young people from some minority ethnic groups.

More generally, however, it was apparent that even the best datasets were not comprehensive, that there was a lack of consistency in defining or identifying vulnerable groups between datasets and that the overall quality and nature of data on many of the outcomes was:

  • insufficiently detailed to allow the extent of any gap to be identified for some of the groups
  • not collected in a way that facilitated accurate comparisons over time
  • insufficiently robust to enable judgements to be made as to whether gaps were widening or narrowing.
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