SCOTS pupils study longer at home than the international average but the gap between affluent and more disadvantaged areas is twice as high as south of the border, a new study reveals.
New figures show the average 15-year-old spends 17.8 hours a week doing non-essential study at home.
This compares to the international average of 16.5 hours a week and is also more than two hours more than their counterparts in England.
But according to the research by education think-tank the Sutton Trust the gap in hours studied between disadvantaged and affluent homes is 2.9 hours which is more than twice that of England where it is 1.3 hours.
The study also shows that high-achieving pupils from socially deprived areas in Scotland spend an average of two hours a week more studying at home than their peers from more advantaged backgrounds to get the same results.
It comes as the gap between children from low-income and high-income households starts early and by the age of five can be as much as 13 months in literacy and numeracy.
By the age of 14, pupils from better-off areas are more than twice as likely as those from the most deprived areas to do well in numeracy.
Research suggests 15-year-olds from Scotland’s poorest postcodes are up to three years behind youngsters from better-off families in science, maths and reading.
Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of the Sutton Trust and of the Education Endowment Foundation, said: “Outside of the classroom, an educational arms race entrenches advantage for those who can afford it. Our new research shows that pupils from better-off homes get much more help with their homework and private tuition than those from less well-off homes. 
“We need to make sure that the academic playing field is levelled outside of the school gate by the state providing funding for private tuition on a means-tested basis.”
Dr John Jerrim, author of the report, said: “These figures show that in the UK children from poorer homes receive significantly less help with their studies outside of school than in many of the other countries surveyed. 
“As a result, children of high ability from low-income families are not receiving the kinds of educational opportunities they should. More support is needed to ensure these pupils are given vital additional support with their learning in order to keep up with children of similar ability from more affluent backgrounds.”