Im going to make some sweeping generalisations here that don't apply to all, but on the whole: Lower aspirations as parents may not work or be literate/numerate, so children don't see a career and academic achievement as something to aspire to. Lower baseline when children enter school - often issues with poor speech and language amongst others. Generally less supported at home academically which makes it harder to get good results. Less life experience - again this impacts on ability. Plenty of children will never have seen the sea, or a field full of sheep, or had life experiences that children from more affulent families will have done. On the plus side - kids with character and oomph! No children that have had personality drained out of them from being pushed to be the best at certain things etc.