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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

8 February 2019 weekly update

8 February 2019

This week, Matt shares the government’s Brexit advice for schools and information on closing the attainment gap from Achievement For All.

Dear Colleagues

Disadvantage Gap

Further to the the recent publication of the Secondary school performance tables for 2018, which provided key performance data for KS4 assessments for all Secondary schools in England, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has identified that the disadvantage gap (measured using the DfE’s disadvantage gap index which is based on attainment in English and Maths GCSEs) had widened by 0.6 per cent in 2018.

The finding was consistent with the EPI’s Annual Report which had found that nationally progress on the gap was stalling and that, based on current trends, it would take well over 100 years for the disadvantage gap in English and Maths to close. The data had also showed that considerable gaps remained between progress made by other groups of pupils. The researchers warned that scores for the pupil group with English as an Additional Language (EAL) should be interpreted with caution because, while average EAL progress scored were high, they obscured large disparities in pupil performance within the group. The findings meant that average attainment scores of EAL pupils could be “deeply misleading”. In 47% of state-funded mainstream schools, disadvantaged pupils were at least half a grade behind other pupils in each Progress 8 subject. The EPI researchers pointed out that two years on from the announcement of the twelve DfE Opportunity Areas, the attainment of pupils in those areas was still below the national average at GCSE.

While the DfE has said that, by 2022, 75% of pupils should be entering the English Baccalaureate, 69% of grammar schools were currently meeting the target, compared with only 7% of non-selective schools. The average EBacc entry rate in state-funded schools is 38.4%.

Within Kent, it is interesting to note that the proportion of disadvantaged pupils achieving grades 4 and 5 and above in English and Maths is improving, however the gap between disadvantaged and their peers remains wider than the national gap for both Progress and Attainment. Girls continue to outperform boys, on average attaining a GCSE grade higher. More positively, in 2018, 40.5% of pupils were entered for the Ebacc.

As part of Kent’s continuing commitment to close the Achievement Gap, I would like to share information from Achievement For All (PDF, 210.6 KB), who will be working in Kent to support schools.

Government’s Brexit Advice for schools

As outlined in earlier e-bulletins, Kent’s advice for schools has been shared and is available here (PDF, 327.6 KB). The government has now published specific guidance to support schools and colleges to prepare in the event of no deal being reached. The guidance signposts education institutions to relevant information, in the context of how it may affect the education sector.

The guidance can be found at:

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education