Ofsted published a report today revealing the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is closing in some parts of the country, but warned other parts were improving too slowly. The report is the third in a series of updates on the progress schools have made in using their pupil premium funding to raise achievement for pupils eligible for free school meals. It shows that, for the schools sampled, the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is closing (often quickly) in all schools judged “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted and is also closing (though more slowly) in around two thirds of schools judged to require improvement. The report also states that school leaders are spending the pupil premium funding and tracking pupils’ progress more effectively than before.
The report notes that the most effective education practitioners identify their pupils’ specific needs “accurately and promptly so that low attainment can be tackled at the very earliest stage”. This only strengthens the case for the Government to do more to promote identification, intervention and support in the early years of education.
The report was based on evidence from 151 inspections carried out between January and December 2013, text review of 1,600 school inspection reports published between September 2013 and March 2014, and national performance data for 2013.