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Tes focus on…Closing the attainment gap

Efforts to close the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their wealthier peers appear to be having minimal impact. The problem, US expert Robert Slavin tells Chris Parr, is that governments have chosen to ignore the evidence of what actually works in favour of unproven approaches such as wider use of edtech

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For decades now, we have been trying to tackle the attainment gap between disadvantaged and advantaged pupils. But despite the intense focus, and persistent injections of time and money in schools, we are struggling to have an impact.

Though research in 2017 suggested that the gap has been closing, it has been doing so at a very slow rate (see bit.ly/AttGap). And there has not been progress across the board. In fact, for pupils who are persistently disadvantaged – those who have been eligible for free school meals for at least 80 per cent of their school lives – the gap at the end of secondary ...

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