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*Press Release* | Whole Education calls for comprehensive action to narrow the achievement gap

As a member of the Fair Education Alliance, Whole Education today joins the call for comprehensive and coordinated action across society to significantly narrow the achievement gap between young people from the poorest communities and their wealthier peers by 2022.
 
The call comes as the Alliance announces the findings and policy recommendations of its inaugural Report Card, which tracks the progress of the nation towards five Fair Education Impact Goals:
 
1.Narrow the gap in literacy and numeracy at primary school
2.Narrow the gap in GCSE attainment at secondary school
3.Ensure young people develop key strengths, including resilience and wellbeing, to support high aspirations
4.Narrow the gap in the proportion of young people taking part in further education or employment-based training after finishing their GCSEs.
5.Narrow the gap in university graduation, including from the 25 per cent most selective universities
 
Whole Education’s Pledge
In support of the five Fair Education Impact Goals, Whole Education pledges to continue to work to break the link between deprivation and poor outcomes by delivering collaborative, impact-focused and evidence-informed action across our network of schools and partner organisations.
 
Teachers are best-placed to narrow the attainment gap
In order to truly narrow the gap and improve social mobility, we need to focus our attention on helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop the wider skills, qualities and characteristics they will need to flourish in life, learning and work, alongside raising attainment.
 
We will not succeed in closing the attainment gap by top-down change but by understanding and overcoming the barriers to learning for each child through networked collaborative enquiry between teachers and schools, which the Whole Education network supports.
 
Across the country schools within the Whole Education network are undertaking excellent, transformative work to address the attainment gap between their pupils through innovative use of the Pupil Premium and other approaches, with significant success rates.
 
Sir John Dunford, Chair of Whole Education and National Pupil Premium Champion said:
The findings of the Fair Education Alliance Report Card today confirms that too often poorer children are being left behind.
 
Although the attainment gap remains wide nationally, school leaders, teachers and governors accept the challenge of raising the attainment of children from disadvantaged backgrounds - this is what motivated many of them to come into teaching. Today Whole Education pledges to work to break the link between deprivation and poor outcomes by delivering collaborative, impact-focused and evidence-informed action across our network.
 
It is time for schools to be outward-looking and seek out the excellent and innovative practice that's taking place across the country, particularly in the Whole Education network schools that are pathfinding ways to deliver a whole education for every young person.
Giving young people a fully-rounded education is disproportionately beneficial to those from disadvantaged backgrounds and is an important component in narrowing the gap.”
 
Ends
For further information, please contact Lizzy Jones at Lizzy@wholeeducation.org
 
Notes to editors
• Whole Education is a partnership of like-minded schools and organisations and individuals that believe that all young people should have a fully rounded education, developing the knowledge, skills and qualities needed to help them thrive in life and work. Skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication; qualities like resilience and empathy in addition to subject knowledge and a wider understanding of our culture, form what we call a fully-rounded education.
• Whole Education is a member of The Fair Education Alliance; an independent coalition for change in education comprising over 25 of the UK’s leading organisations. Its aim is to work towards ending the persistent achievement gap between young people from our poorest communities and their wealthier peers. Committed to this common goal, the Alliance will both work collectively to find solutions to address educational inequality, as well as annually monitoring the progress made to narrow the gap
• 'Will we ever have a fair education for all? The Fair Education Alliance Report Card 2014' can be viewed here: http://www.faireducation.org.uk/report-card

 

Contact
lizzy@wholeeducation.org

Telephone
02072508054

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