On this page you will find the latest blogs and articles from the SAfE team and our guest contributors. We hope to release a new blog every fortnight on key themes emerging from our work at SAfE or in response to ongoing discussions in the education landscape. You can find previous articles in our blog archive.

Also on this page you will be able to sign up to our communications including our SAfE Bulletin and Governors Bulletin, issued once per-half term, follow us on Twitter, or check out what we’ve been reading at SAfE in the Virtual Book Corner.



‘The language gap is the disadvantaged gap’

by Paul Kinder

"There is no such thing in education as a golden ticket but this is as close as you are going to come,"

                                                                    Marc Rowland 2021

These words related to the language gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students and they were uttered by Marc Rowland. It was this sentence, after years of effort intense, unsustainable interventions seeking to close the disadvantaged gap that set our school community of upon a learning journey that has been, is and will be transformational for the students at Warlingham School & Sixth form College.

The work of Marc Rowland with both the Department for Education and Surrey schools in regards to addressing educational disadvantage in schools has been truly inspiring. The key message that Marc emphasises through his hugely impactful work is that ‘the language gap is the disadvantaged gap’. By this Marc means the chasm that exists in vocabulary between the lowest income quintile and the highest - a 27% gap exists at aged five – a challenge that is brought into our schools and a divide then tends to grow. To narrow the gap therefore means to proactively develop speaking and listening skills and to then build on language development. To build a student’s word power and their schemata of understanding.

Evidence led cultural shifts

It is by focusing on the mantra ‘the language gap is the disadvantaged gap’ that the cultural shift that underpins our long-term response to mitigating against the impact of socio-economic disadvantage on learning has begun to occur. 




The SAfE
Virtual Book Corner

Visit SAfE's Virtual Book Corner for top reading recommendations from the SAfE team. We have compiled a list of  book and articles which we believe support our leadership and professional development programmes.

Recommended Reads - Books


  • 'The ResearchED Guide to Leadership: An evidence-informed guide for Teachers' - Various

  • 'Research-Informed Practice'Jennifer Ludgate 'A practical but evidence informed book on how to design a CPD programme.' - Maria Dawes, SAfE CEO

  • ‘An Updated Practical Guide to the Pupil Premium’ - Marc Rowland 

  • ‘Learning without Labels’  - Marc Rowland's latest book!

  • 'Education with Purpose – the Heart of What Matters'Stephen Tierney 'Looking at what mattersm not just what works. I particularly like the chapter on ‘What is your why'.' - Maria Dawes

  • 'Flip the System: Changing Education from the Ground Up'Renae Kneyber and Jelmer Evers  'This book looks at ways to embrace a more humane, more democratic approach to education, a move that places teachers exactly where they need to be - at the steering wheel of educational systems worldwide.' - Louise Yarnell, SAfE SI Advisor 

  • 'Leading Academy Trusts – Why Some Fail but Most Don't'Sir David Carter with Laura McInerney. 'A must read for any CEO (or aspiring CEO) or chair of a MAT trust board.' - Maria Dawes

  • 'Leader: Know, Love and Inspire your People' -  Katy Granville-Chapman and Emmie Bidston (all purchase proceeds to the Prince's Trust)

  • 'Back on Track'Mary Myatt

  • 'Putting Staff First' John Tomsett

  • 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' – Stephen R Covey 'His seven habits help to develop the tools to lead better, but he also helps you to understand how you can get the best out of those that you lead and manage' - Louise Yarnell

  • 'Supporting the Emotional Work of School Leaders'Belinda Harris 'When the pressures of the role seem insurmountable, this book will remind you that you are not alone! Helps to develop your own emotional resilience and a few tools to help you bounce back when needed.' -  Louise Yarnell

  • 'Staying A Head – Stress Management Secrets of Successful School Leaders' - Viv Grant 

  • 'Riding the waves' - James Hilton 'This book looks at both primary and secondary school leaders and how they can find fulfilment in their challenging roles in order to lead their schools successfully.'  -  Louise Yarnell

  • 'Teacher Resilience – Manging Stress and Anxiety to Thrive in the Classroom' Jamie Thom 'A really good book to dip into with practical actions teachers and leaders can take to build resilience.' - Maria Dawes


Recommended Reads - Articles



Click here to sign up for the SAfE bulletin and other updates from SAfE, including events and blogs.


Click here to sign up for our Governors bulletin and details of upcoming events for governors.



01483 749954

Connect with us and regularly follow all the news and
lots of other interesting things.
Don’t hesitate and get in touch, we’re expecting you!



View all our tweets

Contact us

Get in contact today.

Mission Statement

"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"

Copyright 2021 Schools Alliance for Excellence

Back To Top