Following the publication of the report Approaches to Supporting Disadvantaged Pupils, the Department for Education's David Warden, Curriculum Implementation Unit: Humanities, Arts, Languages, and Most Able, shares the following update for NACE members.
 
The Department for Education is committed to unlocking the potential of every child and there is evidence that disadvantaged, highly able pupils fall behind their non-disadvantaged peers between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4. Many of the department's recent reforms, such as new accountability measures and more stretching tests and qualifications, will help – but more needs to be done to support highly able children at risk of underachieving.
 
In November 2018 a University of Warwick research report, Approaches to Supporting Disadvantaged Pupils, was published. This research, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), took place in the spring and summer terms of the 2017-18 academic year. It aimed to identify what secondary schools across England were doing to support attainment amongst the most able disadvantaged students from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4. It had a particular focus on schools where these pupils were making better than average progress.
 
The policy context was a focus on closing the attainment gap in schools as part of wider efforts to increase social mobility. Previous research had identified disadvantaged pupils who attained in the top 10% at the end of primary school as being much less likely than their more advantaged peers to achieve highly at the end of Key Stage 4.
 
This study has demonstrated that English secondary schools in diverse settings and with diverse pupil populations can be successful in promoting high achievement of their most able disadvantaged students across Key Stages 2 to 4. We hope that schools will view it as providing useful ideas about how they might adopt similar approaches to support their most able disadvantaged pupils to achieve their potential.
 
The full report is available here.
 
Date: 
Monday, January 14, 2019