MORE top teachers need to be attracted to Oxfordshire to help poorer children achieve top results, it has been claimed.

It comes after figures from the Department for Education revealed only 59 per cent of 19-yearolds in the county on free school meals (FSM) had achieved five GCSEs at grades A*-C, compared to 86 per cent of 19-year-olds who did not receive them.

That means just 277 out of 470 pupils on free school meals received five good GCSEs, while 4,940 out of 5,745 did so.

Headteachers and Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said top teachers could be put off by the pressure of teaching in inner city schools and the cost of living in Oxfordshire.

Wallingford School headteacher Wyll Willis said: “As always it is about resources.

“I have just lost a world-class deputy head who has gone one to take up a headteacher position.

“He wanted to teach in an innercity school but he has a young family and he could not take that risk.”

The gap between the number of pupils on FSM and pupils who did not receive FSM who receive five GCSEs is known as the attainment gap.

In Oxfordshire that gap was 27 percentage points in 2014, 24 percentage points in 2013, and 26 percentage points in 2012.

Oxford Academy headteacher Niall McWilliams said: “The only way to really improve the picture is to get really good teachers into the profession and make sure that it is an attractive profession.”

In January the head of school standards body Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said two-fifths of new teachers left the profession within five years of starting because of the pressures of dealing with unruly pupils.

County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said top teachers could also be put off coming to Oxford because of the city’s high cost of living.

She said: “I think the affordability of Oxford is definitely an issue.”