Closing the SW Disadvantage Gap

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.

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.

Disadvantage News

March 15, 2021

Transferrable Strategies for Closing the Disadvantage Gap

in Disadvantage News
The TSC South West, in association with Glenmore and Winton Academies, are holding a webinar on Thursday 29th April, 4pm-5pm - 'Transferrable Strategies for Closing the Disadvantage Gap' The Academies have gone through a period of transformation over the past…
Mar 08, 2021

Meeting the Needs of Disadvantage Pupils During and Post-pandemic Webinar

Marc Rowlands is currently the adviser for improving outcomes for disadvantaged learners…
Feb 19, 2021

How schools can better serve our disadvantaged learners

In a recent Podcast, Dr Jim Rogers talks with Bill Jerman, Disadvantage specialist to…
Feb 11, 2021

SPP WEBINAR: Rethinking our approach to tackling disadvantage

Invitation to join our next national SPP WEBINAR: Rethinking our approach to tackling…
Feb 08, 2021

Closing the Disadvantage Gap - Bromley Education Matters

The London Borough of Bromley working with multi academy trusts and schools to raise…
EEF Logo
Jan 29, 2021

Making the Difference for Disadvantaged Pupils

Teaching Schools South West, Kingsbridge Research School and the Education Endowment…

What are we already doing collectively to address the widening gap?

There are many 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:

Guidance and Regional Support Available for Schools

Guidance and resources focusing on disadvantage in schools


A range of podcasts have been produced with Jim Rogers. Jim interviews the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education. Each one links to an educational theme and each guest has something valuable to offer. They are no more than 60 mins. If you listen to them all you'll notice they resonate with each other and key themes emerge.  Find out more here:

Marc Rowlands

Marc is currently the adviser for improving outcomes for disadvantaged learners for the Unity Schools Partnership.  Marc is currently working with the Education Endowment Foundation’s national Research School Network on the roll out of their national Pupil Premium training programme. He is also working on  a range of programmes focussed on educational disadvantage nationally. He was formerly the Head of Rosendale Research School in Lambeth. 

He has an excellent blog page providing a one stop shop for evidence, case studies, templates etc to support schools and Trusts with their work around supporting Disadvantaged learners.
Marc has also produced a webinar with HISP Research School 'Meeting the needs of disadvantage pupils during and post-pandemic'.  A recording of the webinar can be viewed at Please click here to view the accompanying powerpoint presentation.

West Somerset Research School & Kingsbridge Research School

The Research Schools Network is a collaboration (EEF and IEE) to create a network of schools that support the use of evidence to improve teaching practice.



‘Evidence into Action’ - EEF podcast focuses on ‘Making the Difference for Disadvantaged Pupils’


The Education Endowment Fund publish a monthly podcast, ‘Evidence into Action’. This opening instalment focuses on how schools can ‘Make the Difference for Disadvantaged Pupils’.

For quick and easy access to future episodes, search for 'Evidence into Action' in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts and make sure you subscribe there.and make sure you subscribe there.

Case Studies: The EEF 3 Tiered Approach

Practical, evidence-based guidance to support schools in the busy and unpredictable year ahead.



TEDx Exeter : How can we level the playing field of life? | Lee Elliot Major 

Social mobility is getting worse, leading to extremes of inequality and a disconnected, dysfunctional elite. So what can we do to create a more level playing field? Lee Elliot Major explores how middle-class privilege is increasingly ingrained by our education system, arguing that radical reforms are needed to tackle a massive waste of talent. 

Supporting Disadvantaged Pupils

A collection of curated links and resources from Bill Jerman on Supporting Disdavantaged Pupils.

WK Jerman Education Consultancy - Resources 





Edtech Demo regional dashboard

Helping schools and colleges with support for remote education, powered by a national network of Demonstrator Schools and Colleges and supported by a consortium of Delivery Partners.The programme is funded by the English Department for Education as part of its get help with technology initiative.  

The DfE and delivery partners have identified 48 schools and colleges nationally to act as Demonstrator Schools which have demonstrated excellence in their use of technology to support teaching and learning and have the capacity to help others. 

These schools and colleges represent a wide range of contexts, from rural to urban and primary to further education and include a number of Trusts with special needs provision. 

Please register for interest here by February 2021.

Featured Resource 

The GEC App for Education

We know that the SW has the largest gaps when it comes to Disadvantage. That is why we have created the GEC App; this is the solution for early years to post16. We support school leaders with groundbreaking data analysis, research-led CPD, as well as best practice policy and practice to provide everything you need to both identify and diminish the difference for all of your stakeholders.







We launched December 2020, after a national pilot with schools and colleges from across the UK. This is THE framework and toolkit when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion - including Socio-Economic Status, Anti-Racism, LGBTQ+ and Gender Equality support. It is all online, puts the data and education into your hands without the need for expensive consultancy. We call this the #GECApp. 

You will also explore the educational pathways of your students from when they start school to post16, educating you on every aspect of gender equality and the 9 characteristics of the Equality Act (2010) and Disadvantage

Best of all, it’s all online (and it won’t break the bank at £150 per setting as our business arm sponsor education). 


OUR MISSION | To combine your data with our groundbreaking framework and online CPD training, making you the expert.



So, the question is WHY wouldn't you do the GEC App to help you serve your underserved students better?

For more information click here.
Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further details.


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