The gap in attainment between disadvantaged children and young people and their better-off peers has narrowed over the past decade, thanks in part to billions of pounds of pupil premium funding being targeted at the poorest schools.
However, the pace of improvement has slowed in recent years and at the current rate, it will take a century for the attainment gap to be eradicated altogether. This has caused policymakers and practitioners to search for new approaches to supporting disadvantaged children that can deliver quicker results.
Analysis of the most recent government data shows that on average disadvantaged children are 4.3 months behind in reception, 9.4 months behind at the end of primary school and 18.4 months behind when they take GCSEs.
Since 2016, the government has launched a series of funding and policy programmes aimed at improving social mobility. The focus of many is enhancing early education support in the most deprived areas so that children start school with more of the basic skills needed to learn.
More funding has also been targeted at helping looked-after children get additional support in an effort to address the historically low attainment of that group. Meanwhile, there are signs the introduction of virtual school heads has improved the academic performance of children in care.
CYP Now's special report on narrowing the attainment gap summarises key policies on the issue, assesses latest research on what works in improving the attainment of disadvantaged children, and profiles four projects that are succeeding in narrowing the gap.
Click on the links below for more:
Context and Solutions
EasyPeasy: Evaluation in Newham: findings from the Sutton Trust Parental Engagement Fund (PEF) Project
Reading Recovery: Research and evaluation
Raising Achievement of All Learners
Children in care buck attainment trend
Programme makes pre-schoolers champions at maths
Tower Hamlets harnesses power of collaboration
Laying foundations for future attainment