Education: Standards

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to close the attainment gap in (a) Coventry North East constituency, (b) Coventry, (c) the West Midlands and (d) England.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department is aware that all pupils, regardless of their background, have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are providing schools with the resources and tools to address lost education so that all pupils may make up lost ground. Our £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package is providing additional funding so that schools can support pupils who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 outbreak:

As part of this, the £650 million universal Catch-Up Premium is enabling all schools to identify and prioritise support for pupils to address their needs: This complements the National Tutoring Programme, which is targeting £350 million to accelerate the academic progress of disadvantaged pupils by making high-quality tutors available to schools in all regions at a greatly reduced rate.

English schools continue to receive the Pupil Premium, worth £2.4 billion again this year, to enable them to arrange extra personalised support for disadvantaged pupils. This year, schools in the Coventry North East constituency are sharing £6.8 million provided through this grant, with schools in Coventry local authority sharing more than £18.2 million. The figure for the fourteen local authorities in the West Midlands region is £316.39 million. More information about Pupil Premium allocations and conditions of grant in the 2020/21 financial year is available through the following link:

The Department founded the Education Endowment Foundation in 2011 to research and disseminate the most effective ways to improve the progress of disadvantaged pupils. So far, it has conducted 190 trials in 13,000 English schools, leading to the publication of a comprehensive range of internationally recognised effective practices. This research shows that schools effectively implementing the best evidence-based approaches can make a difference to the future of every pupil.

We developed a Disadvantage Gap Index that is unaffected by our widespread educational reforms. The index shows that, between 2011 and 2019, the attainment gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils narrowed by 13% at age 11 and 9% at age 16: Most disadvantaged pupils now attend good or outstanding schools. In March 2020, 86% of schools were Good or Outstanding compared to just 68% in 2010. Our reforms have supported this improvement.

We know there is more to do for disadvantaged pupils, hence our £90m Opportunity Areas programme: The long-term objective of the programme is to transform the life chances of children and young people in 12 areas of the country with low social mobility, whilst learning more about what works to improve education outcomes in coastal, rural and urban areas. The programme seeks to tackle regional inequality, convening resources, testing new approaches and unlocking barriers in those geographic areas, such as Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands, where the educational challenges are greatest.

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