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New proposals announced to address inequalities in school attainment

05/10/2017 Joanna

The government has announced a number of new measures that aim to address the gap in attainment levels that has opened up between richer and poorer students.

Several new projects have been outlined by the Department for Education to improve students' access to interventions that can bolster their literacy and numeracy at key stages of their development, which will help to prevent students from disadvantaged backgrounds from falling behind.

This will include the establishment of a national network of English hubs across the country with a specific focus on improving early language and literacy, with £12 million to be spent on the north of England in the first phase of this project.

Meanwhile, an additional £6 million will be spent on expanding the current Maths hubs initiative to more challenging areas, while the £140 million Strategic School Improvement Fund will be reworked to include a new focus on boosting literacy and numeracy skills among reception-age students.

Additionally, £5 million is to be spent trialling evidence-based home learning environment support programmes in the north of England, with a focus on early language and literacy. The government has also pledged to revamp current channels of alternative education provision to ensure that no pupils outside mainstream education are left behind.

These initiatives are designed as a response to recent research showing that children who struggle with language at age five are six times less likely to reach the expected standard in English at age 11, and ten times less likely to achieve the expected level in maths.

A statement from the Department for Education said: "Tackling the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is a crucial part of unlocking the potential of every child and, for many children, we know this gap is already in place before they even start primary school."

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