There is an achievement gap between children from poor family backgrounds and others; this is not unique to the UK, but found in all other countries of the OECD. This article examines the reasons why children from poorer backgrounds do not, on average, do as well academically at school as those from more advantaged backgrounds. It argues that the family, income and material resources are highly significant, although schools also play an important role. Possible implications for policy are discussed together with associated tensions
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