Poverty monitor infographic 8 for GM Poverty ActionEducational attainment is a major factor in determining a person’s risk of poverty. In Greater Manchester, there is variation across the city region at each stage of educational development.

School readiness

The chart shows the proportion of children who achieved at least expected levels across all early years learning goals in 2018/19 by gender in each Local Authority in Greater Manchester, the North West and England. In 2018/19, the England average was 67% of boys achieving expected levels across learning goals and 77.6% of girls; in Trafford achievement for both boys and girls exceeded the England average (at 67.8% and 80.9% respectively), and in Bury a slightly higher proportion of boys achieved expected levels than the England average at 64.6%. In every other local authority, the proportion of children achieving expected learning goals was lower than the England average.

GCSE attainment over time

This chart shows the average attainment score of students at the end of Key Stage 4 and how this has changed over time. Several major reforms to Key Stage 4 testing have been introduced and the data presented here should be interpreted in the context of these changes:

  • In 2013/14, two major reforms were implemented which affected the calculation of key stage 4 (KS4) performance measures data:
    1. Professor Alison Wolf’s Review of Vocational Education recommendations which: a. restrict the qualifications counted b. prevent any qualification from counting as larger than one GCSE c. cap the number of non-GCSEs included in performance measures at two per pupil
    2. An early entry policy to only count a pupil’s first attempt at a qualification. Trafford has consistently performed much better than other Local Authorities within Greater Manchester.
  • From 2017, new GCSE qualifications in English and mathematics, graded 9-1, are included in performance tables. Points are allocated to the new GCSEs on a 9-1 point scale corresponding to the new 9 to 1 grades, e.g. a grade 9 will get 9 points in the performance measures.

Across Greater Manchester all Local Authorities have experienced a similar trajectory of change over time but with noticeable variance in outcomes across the conurbation. Trafford has consistently performed better than other local Authorities, with students there achieving the highest attainment scores at the end of Key Stage 4 within Greater Manchester, however the overall attainment score in Trafford has decreased slightly over time from 57% in 2005/06 to 56.10% in 2018/19. A similar decrease over time can also be seen in Stockport and Bury. The other Local Authorities across Greater Manchester have seen an overall increase in attainment scores over time, resulting in a narrowing of the attainment gap between Local Authority areas.


This chart shows the highest levels of qualification achieved by those aged 16-64 in 2019 in Greater Manchester, its local authorities, the North West and England. In England, 40% of those aged 16-64 are qualified to level 4 or above, which is broadly equivalent to degree or higher-level apprenticeship and above. In Manchester, Stockport and Trafford the proportion of people with level 4 qualifications or above was higher than the national average (at 44%, 45% and 51% respectively). Greater Manchester had a slightly higher proportion of residents qualified to this level than the North West as a whole. Those qualified at level 3 (broadly equivalent to A-Levels or an advanced apprenticeship) were very similar in England and Greater Manchester at 18%. Those qualified to level 2 (broadly equivalent to grades 9-4 or A*-C at GCSE) and level 1 (broadly equivalent to other GCSEs or Functional Skills certificates) were also similar for Greater Manchester and England. There were a higher proportion of people with no qualifications in Greater Manchester (9.4%) than in England (7.5%).

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i3oz9sPoverty Monitor: Education