Press Releases 2014-2015

Report Highlights Schools Success Reducing Effect of Poverty on Educational Achievement

17.12.2014

A report published by the Wales Centre for Equity in Education (WCEE) today (17/12/14) has revealed how some schools and community settings in disadvantaged areas of Wales are successfully reducing the effect of poverty on educational achievement.

WCEE was set up by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and University of Wales. It represents a commitment by the universities to develop policy, applied research and innovative practice that will contribute to improving equity within the Welsh education system.

Today’s report, entitled ‘The Good News…What schools in Wales are doing to reduce the impact of poverty on pupils’ achievement’, can be found on the Centre’s website www.uwtsd.ac.uk/wcee. It is based on case studies of twelve schools and community settings that are bucking the trend in terms of performance of pupils in receipt of free school meals. The case studies were gathered as part of the Policy Observatory project, funded by Welsh Government and compiled by WCEE in collaboration with the Regional Education Consortia and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

The research focuses on what schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas are doing to reduce the impact of poverty on pupils’ achievement. It reveals examples throughout Wales of schools and community partnerships that are making a big difference in narrowing the achievement gap and they all share three key characteristics:

1. Strong leadership.
2. Effective teaching.
3. Strong relationships with parents and the wider community.

Dr Russell Grigg, WCEE Executive Head of Research, said: “All of the schools successfully reducing the achievement gap are well led. Leaders, at all levels, demonstrate a ‘no excuses’ attitude and the self-belief that they can make a significant difference to the educational outcomes achieved by every child. They use data to monitor performance and set realistic targets, hold high expectations (of staff and pupils) and succeed in creating a culture where all are valued.

“The teachers in these schools make lessons interesting, relevant and challenging. They are good role models and give clear feedback. The curriculum builds on what pupils already know and effective ‘catch-up’ support is given, where necessary, to strengthen basic skills of literacy and numeracy.

“Strong ties have also been forged with parents and the wider community. This isn’t always easy. Some parents have negative attitudes to school, often borne out of their own experiences. We found that the effective schools break down barriers and worked with parents, on issues such as improving their own basic skills and their children’s attendance. They do simple things to celebrate success with parents, such as ringing home with good news about their children’s achievements so that parents do not automatically equate school contact with ‘a problem.’ Leaders also establish partnerships with businesses and others in the community to enrich pupils’ learning experiences.”

Note to Editor

The Policy Observatory report can be downloaded here

Further Information

Steven Stokes
Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer
07872 423788
steven.stokes@sm.uwtsd.ac.uk