UK Education Research and Innovation Ltd.

Closing the Attainment Gap

The project supports schools, academy chains, local authorities and individual advisers seeking ways to understand the processes that gives rise to the attainment gap in English and mathematics that exists between pupils who qualify for the pupil premium, and those who do not.

The project and it’s resources have particular relevance to those tasked with undertaking Pupil Premium Reviews. This site presents a proven approach to undertaking such a review, whether undertaken internally, or by an external agency.

The gap in attainment remains a national issue across the UK, and one for which there is not a simple definitive answer, despite the fact that it could be thought that the problem is easily tackled through the simple addition of extra funding.

In reality, the factors that cause the under-achievement described are multifarious and hard to address, even with the very welcome additional funding currently (and generously) provided by the government through the pupil premium grant.

It is the project teams experience that many schools, having had some initial success in closing the gap through additional intervention and resourcing, are finding it hard to finally and completely close the attainment gap – something clearly desirable, and required by Ofsted. This site supports public and private organisations wishing to make productive use of the innovative tools this project has developed to help address the issues described.

The project sets out a simple approach to assessing a complex problem. It provides resources to support this approach, that seek to analyse, isolate and address some of the specific issues that lead to under-achievement. Resources are designed to be easy to use, simple to apply, and supportive of practical solutions to deliver real improvements.

The approach involves:

  • Revisiting learners performance data, and delving beyond the headline figures to fully understand if, what and where the attainment gaps exist.
  • Unpicking the perceptions and attitudes of learners, parents and teachers to identify underlying factors.
  • Devise ways to help schools complete the closure of attainment gaps on a sustainable basis in the long term.

Current projects using the project’s approach include:

  • Undertaking, by invitation, Pupil Premium Reviews following Ofsted inspections.
  • Enabling schools and academies to target and evidence the impact of their Pupil Premium expenditure.
  • Helping schools and academies to better understand the socio-economic context of their pupil base, beyond the simplistic measure of those qualifying for Pupil Premium funding or Free School Meals (FSM).
  • Enabling children’s centres to demonstrate the impact of their work across their local communities.
  • Supporting local authorities and academy chains to monitor, analyse and present in an accessible format local needs, particularly in terms of their impact on supporting the most vulnerable.

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