Jean Gross

How do schools help the ‘unseen children’?


For years, policymakers have been talking about improving outcomes for disadvantaged white boys – a large proportion of the ‘forgotten third’ who fail maths and English – but so far little has changed. Based on her extensive experience of working with pupils in poverty, education psychologist and author Jean Gross offers her insight into what we need to do to raise attainment in the group

How do schools help the ‘unseen children’?

I first met Jason when I was a young educational psychologist. He was referred because he was 6 years old and he was showing no signs of learning to read.

When he was 4, Jason had started school full of excitement, like most children of that age. Everything had gone reasonably well in Reception, though he didn’t always do as he was told and found it hard to share. When I met him at the end of Year 1, however, he had begun to notice that other children could read and he couldn’t. He sat next to a little girl with neat handwriting and could see the difference between her work and his.

When ...

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