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What works for disadvantaged pupils?

Everyone knows the right answear

The DfE report School cultures and practices: supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils compares schools outside London and in London. Rather than a more quantitative approach, researchers selected 16 primary schools and 7 secondary schools across England to provide an in-depth analysis.

The report includes 11 themes and compares high-performing and low-performing schools.

They found that high-performing primary and secondary schools:

  • appeared to use very early support for pupils falling behind in key curriculum areas
  • demonstrated a wider range of strategies to support disadvantaged pupils
  • used strategies consistently, frequently and regularly
  • engaged in a variety of community partnerships to deliver extra-curricular activities
  • evaluated the impact of interventions
  • ensured all staff are confident in handling data
  • had a positive culture
  • saw hiring newly-qualified teachers as a positive opportunity
  • emphasised the importance of supporting teachers’ career development.

High-performing primary schools:

  • were more likely to tailor teaching to individual pupils
  • made more extensive use of extra-curricular opportunities for philosophy, oracy and debating
  • subsidised trips and extra-curricular activities for disadvantaged pupils
  • directed resources towards the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  • placed emphasis on the quality of support staff
  • recruited staff that shared the school’s ethos
  • worked with local secondary schools on transition.

The report does refer to the difficulties which some schools were having in relation to recruitment and retention. One of its recommendations is to support the recruitment and retention needs of lower-performing schools in disadvantaged areas outside London: https://bit.ly/2B1Oe41.