Best Practice

Five principles for tackling the disadvantage gap in schools

While government action is crucial if we are to close the achievement gap between rich and poor, there are many things schools can do as well. Tiffnie Harris offers five principles for building a successful programme
Image: Adobe Stock

The disadvantage gap is arguably education’s most obdurate problem. Gains are hard won and easily lost. Since 2011, the gaps at ages 11 and 16 narrowed slightly and then widened again following the pandemic. They are now pretty much back to where they started.

Earlier this month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, published its analysis of what awaits the next government (Farquharson et al, 2024). It highlights many strengths, including the fact that England is one of the best-performing countries in terms of school-age attainment.

But it notes: “At every stage of education, children from less advantaged backgrounds perform significantly worse.”

The disadvantage gap starts to emerge at a young age and gets wider as children get older.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here