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Our obsession with closing gaps is doomed to failure

Despite having cash to equalise opportunity, it’s not always possible to offer all pupils the same support

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Close the gap: that’s our mission. Close the gap between the weakest and strongest; the richest and the poorest; the exceeding and the emerging. Close the gap between home life and school; between the cultured and the uncultured; the word-rich and the word-poor.

But any teacher with their sights set on a completely gap-free class is doomed to failure. Gaps are tricky things to close: as soon as one side starts to catch up, the other moves effortlessly away, and when the void is less gap and more chasm, it’s hard to show any narrowing at all.

Of course, closing the gap isn’t something you’re ...

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