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Tackling disadvantage: Selected reading

Written By: Cat Scutt
5 min read
A collection of articles, blogs, tools and resources around tackling disadvantage

‘Narrowing the gap’ in attainment for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds remains a key priority in education. This page includes links to a wide range of useful articles, blogs, research reports and resources from different sources (all freely available or available through Chartered College membership) that explore ideas relating to how we can tackle the attainment gap. These resources may be a potential starting point to help you reflect on this area, assess what you are already doing well and what you could consider doing differently.

Critically, the resources collated here will not provide an ‘answer’ to what is a very complex challenge. Some of the articles will also present opposing viewpoints, and ones which may contradict your own viewpoint or experience. They should provoke thought, debate and discussion. Evidence-informed practice requires teachers and school leaders to make expert decisions based on their local context, professional experience and available research evidence, and the resources here are provided to provoke thought and discussion. The views within do not necessarily represent that of the Chartered College.

It is also important to remember Dylan Wiliam’s reminder that nothing works everywhere and everything works somewhere – you need to select suitable approaches for your own setting, pupils and context, and it’s important to remember the role that implementation plays, too; the Education Endowment Foundation’s implementation guidance is a useful starting point for this. It is also important to remember that the resources here are exploring issues at a ‘macro’ level, rather than considering individual pupils; it is important to avoid stereotyping, and the relationship between disadvantage, widely used measures of disadvantage, and attainment is complex.

Understanding the impact of disadvantage

The resources in this section explore wide areas relating to education and disadvantage, the attainment gap, how this has changed over time and its effect. These provide important context.

Teach First’s report on ‘the class ceiling’

An EPI report looking at trends in attainment how the attainment gap has changed over time

A printable wallchart from EPI highlighting key facts and figures

A Royal Society and EEF report exploring the relationship between pupil socio-economic status and science attainment

School intake and Ofsted outcomes

These resources explore the relationship between a school’s intake and its Ofsted outcomes.

An EPI report looking at school inspection, including the relationship between school intake and inspection outcomes

A blog from headteacher Stephen Tierney exploring Ofsted outcomes and disadvantage

A blog from Ofsted exploring this topic

Further analysis of this topic from Education Datalab

The Pupil Premium

These resources look at the Pupil Premium, its impact and how it is being, or could be, used effectively in schools.

An EPI report looking at disadvantage and the Pupil Premium

Three blogs from Professor Becky Allen looking at why, in her view, the Pupil Premium is not working: 

Becky Allen – Pupil Premium blog Part 1

Becky Allen – Pupil Premium blog Part 2

Becky Allen – Pupil Premium blog Part 3

A selection of articles and materials from Marc Rowland, looking at how to make best use of the Pupil Premium

Self-evaluation template

Case Studies from Schools

A Toolkit for Tackling Social Disadvantage

More resources

Approaches to tackling disadvantage

This section includes larger-scale research reports and approaches to tackling disadvantage.

A toolkit for improving outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, focused on coastal schools in the South East

A Sutton Trust report looking at helping highly able pupils to achieve their potential

The Education Endowment Foundation Toolkit – also available as a PDF

Perspectives and whole-school approaches

These short articles include perspectives and practical examples of whole-school practices, policies and approaches. These do not all relate specifically to tackling disadvantage, but cover a range of themes which may be of particular interest. The Chartered College resources included are all ‘open access’ – there are many more resources in our member area and in our journal, Impact.

A Tes article by Becky Francis exploring the relationship between disadvantage and setting

Stephen Tierney’s blog on his school’s approach to reducing absence

An Impact editorial from Michael Young looking at the concept of a knowledge-led curriculum

A case-study of a knowledge-rich curriculum in primary school

An Impact article looking at the idea of ‘powerful knowledge’ in disadvantaged contexts

An Impact article looking at a very different curriculum development approach – one centred around the idea of nurturing compassionate citizens

An Impact article reflecting on the debate around mobile phone bans

An Impact case study of a school’s approach to sending daily revision emails to parents

Practical classroom examples

These short articles include practical examples of classroom approaches to pedagogy and assessment. These do not relate specifically to tackling disadvantage, but cover a range of themes which may be of interest. The Chartered College resources included are all ‘open access’ – there are many more resources in our member area and in our journal, Impact.

A collection of short articles in Impact looking at research and practice in vocabulary learning across all phases

A Tes article looking at approaches to teaching reading

A Tes article looking at approaches to teaching spelling

An Impact article looking at the use of guided play in early maths education

An Impact article exploring research and practice around dialogic teaching

Teaching assistants

These resources include some very practical tools and examples which can be applied relatively easily. They all came out of an EEF project looking at maximising the use of teaching assistants.

Making Best Use of Teaching Assistants – full guidance report

Supporting resources:

Steps to acting on the evidence

A poster summarising key recommendations

A teaching assistant-pupil interaction scaffolding framework

Many further resources

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