Closing the gap

December 24, 2015

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s call for a major new focus on closing the attainment gap is welcome. Not only is there a strong social imperative to narrow the attainment and access gaps at every stage of a young person’s life, but there is also an economic incentive.

Access to our best universities and top professions is still too dependent on background. We need to improve access with better subject choices in schools and more focused outreach by universities. The best employers are diversifying their workforce with higher apprenticeships and fair internships. We need more organisations to meet that challenge.

Although some schools are making excellent progress in narrowing the gap between their richest and poorest pupils, it is clear that some are not and, nationally, the attainment gap remains large and persistent. If we are to achieve the commission’s aim of bringing poor children across the country up to the current performance of their peers in inner London, it is vital that schools use rigorous research to inform decisions about spending pupil premium funding.

We must focus on providing quality education in the early years, so that disadvantaged children gain the developmental skills they need. We need to make sure that every child has access to high-quality teaching by recruiting more good teachers and by boosting the quality of the 450,000 teachers already employed. This will be especially beneficial for poorer pupils as our research has shown that the difference between a good teacher and a bad teacher for this group is a whole year’s learning.

Sir Peter Lampl Chairman
Sutton Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation

Sir Kevan Collins
Chief executive Education Endowment Foundation


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com

Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday. View terms and conditions.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Administrative Assistant UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Dental Clinical Skills Assistant UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Education Liaison Lead UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest