We want to ensure that every child in the South West has the opportunity to make the most of their lives, no matter where they live or their background. We know that as a region, we need to do more to close the disadvantage gap more quickly and more effectively. We will be building on the established good practice in narrowing the disadvantaged gap by working with schools who are clearly demonstrating best practice and linking them with schools who see this as significant priority in achieving better outcomes.

The SW Disadvantage ‘Problem’

Whilst the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, measured by the DfE’s attainment gap index, has narrowed by 13% at key stage 2 and 9.5% at key stage 4 since 2011 (the year the pupil premium was introduced), attainment or progress for SW disadvantaged pupils is not improving as well as for their peers i.e. the gap is widening when you look across the 2017 to 2019 outcomes, both in the EYFS and at KS2 and KS4.  We now have the largest gaps across all three phases nationally.

Narrowing the attainment gap for disadvantaged pupils is an urgent priority for the South West. We know that as a region we need to do more, close the disadvantage gap, quickly and effectively so that every child in the SW can succeed regardless of their socio-economic circumstances.

What are we already doing collectively to address the widening gap? You can contact regional leads using the details on this page.


There are many exciting projects underway in the SW led by various stakeholders and system partners to close the gap in several localities as part of place-based approaches:

  • Team South West have convened a Disadvantage Working Group made up of key partners from the EEF, RSC office, DfE, TSC, Whole School SEND, EdTech, and NCETM to develop a coherent and more systematic means of enabling school leaders to access the best available research and expertise. Contact: Chrysta Garnett: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The West Somerset Opportunity Area is a great example of systematic place-based approach that has yielded excellent outcomes for young people in a relatively short amount of time. By partnering with the West Somerset Research School, the EEF, the Local Authority and expert system leaders and local networks this work is likely to be sustained across all education phases. Contact: Jan.Downie: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The EEF has many regional projects in the pipeline that are designed to address very specific local needs where the highest numbers of EEF priority schools in an area have been identified. Contact: Lorwyn Randall: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Plymouth Local Authority and the DfE have partnered with Kingsbridge Research School, the EEF and Ambition Institute to provide a targeted Secondary Improvement Strategy across Plymouth secondraries that has 3 key strands: 1. Individual School Support and MAT collaboration  2. An outstanding CPD offer in the city to build leadership capacity  3. Implementation of a strategy that tackles key barriers to system improvement in Plymouth. You can find out more about this project here: https://www.plymouthstrategy.org/



Featured CPD