How we go about narrowing of the learning gap between disadvantaged children and their peers has been a persistent question for educators across the UK. Whilst Surrey performs well compared to other local authorities for most of its learners, for our disadvantaged children, as a county, we are falling behind.
In Surrey, 84% of all pupils met national expectations for the Phonics Screening Test at the end of year 1 – placing Surrey at 21 of 150 local authorities. However, only 63% of pupils entitled to free school meals met expectations. For these pupils, Surrey is performing much worse, placing at only 136 of 150 local authorities.
Whilst there has been a great amount of work done to try and narrow this attainment gap, for Surrey, unfortunately this gap has widened in recent years.
70% of all pupils in Surrey met national expectations for reading, writing, and maths at the end of Key Stage 2, placing Surrey at 22 of 150 local authorities; but only 46% of disadvantaged pupils met these same expectations compared to 51% nationally. That places Surrey at 117 of 150, and shows a decline of 1% compared to 47% the previous year.
In light of to the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures and disruptions to children's education poses an even greater challenge for educators - with research suggesting that this may have undone a number of years worth of progress in narrowing the learning gap.
On this page, you will find the latest thoughts from SAfE on how we can work to ameliorate the gap and signposting to key reading from around the education community.
For more on how we at SAfE are working to narrow the gap, visit Our Programmes. To read more on the COVID-19 gap, visit COVID-19 Catch Up.
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Surrey County Council
Surrey Teaching Schools Network
Department for Education
"To create an inclusive partnership where all children and young people have the opportunities to flourish, enjoy learning and achieve the best possible outcomes through excellent education"