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Five ways that the government can help schools with disadvantaged pupils, according to a study published by the DfE

Five ways DfE could raise school standards

Five ways that the government can help schools with disadvantaged pupils, according to a study published by the DfE

The government must take action to ensure that the success of high-performing schools with deprived pupils can be repeated across the country, according to a report.

The research makes a series of recommendations for the Department for Education after identifying the characteristics of schools that do well with children from disadvantaged backgrounds both in and outside London.

Here are five recommendations for the DfE from the report, which was published by the department:

1. Attract teachers through affordable housing and good transport links

The report says the government’s efforts to support teacher recruitment and retention need to be focused on the needs of lower-performing schools in poorer areas outside of London.

It says that the DfE needs to ensure that factors affecting teacher supply, such as the availability of affordable housing, good transport links and quality of life, are being addressed across the government. The research suggests this will help to attract teachers into areas with low-performing schools.

2. Research the link between 'shared staff purpose' and school performance

The new research says that the most successful schools have teachers who believe in their school’s ethos and are confident that their work can make a difference.

The report suggests that the DfE explore this further to research the link between “shared staff purpose and school performance”.

It says that this further research could assess what strategies are successful in supporting disadvantaged pupils and ask, "How does a shared sense of purpose impact on the performance of teachers and pupils’ results?"

3. Train teachers and governors to use data

As successful schools were found to be more likely to make effective use of data, the report calls for more to be done to support this.

It calls on teacher training providers, especially in the primary phase, to ensure that initial teacher training (ITT) programmes show new teachers how they can use data to lesson-plan and monitor pupils' progress.

The report also says schools should ensure that new and recently qualified teachers have access to training that builds their data literacy.  And it calls for the DfE to ensure that school governors have training on data literacy to allow them to better hold schools to account.

4. Look to London schools for tips on parental engagement

The report says that high-performing London schools went further than other schools to work with parents to develop their expectations for their children.

In some cases, high-performing primary schools employed a dedicated member of staff to provide outreach and support for parents and families, rather than assigning this responsibility to existing teaching staff.  

The report recommends that the DfE should collate examples of effective practice in engaging parents so that they can be shared with schools.

5. Share examples of inspiring leadership

The research identifies a clear link between school effectiveness and “strong and visionary leadership". 

It calls on the DfE to share examples of great leadership with schools across the country.

It also calls on schools to prioritise the development of middle leaders in order to improve teaching in the classroom and support the development of the next generation of senior school leaders.

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