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Rotherham told to close attainment gap between disadvantaged children and the rest

21/12/2012 Joanna
Teachers in Rotherham will be required to take measures to improve the performance of poorer pupils in the 'three Rs' of reading, writing and arithmetic.

According to the Yorkshire Post, the government has demanded that the council of the south Yorkshire town produces a new plan to make sure that students from deprived areas are able to master these fundamental tenets or a basic education.

In total, 15 education authorities have been criticised across England for their poor performance in school league tables. In Rotherham, the gap between children from poor backgrounds and the rest of the town's average was one of the biggest of anywhere in the country following the summer's national curriculum SATs tests.

Approximately half of all students receiving free school meals - the traditional measure for whether a child comes from a disadvantaged background - did not reach the standards expected for an 11-year-old child in English and maths, compared to just 20 per cent of the rest of the town's children.

Schools minister David Laws wrote to the council warning them to take immediate action to close the attainment gap between those pupils receiving free school meals and their classmates.

"The Government is committed to closing this gap between disadvantaged children and their school peers," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

"To that end we have created and funded the pupil premium for all of the 564 children in Rotherham in receipt of free school meals. We simply will not stand back and allow failure on this scale to continue."

Meanwhile, the heads of several primary schools in Suffolk have pledged to work together to improve their collective performance after Suffolk was only able to raise 74 per cent of its children to level four or above in both English and maths SATs.

As a result, the Bury Free Press reports that Suffolk was only able to place 146th out of 150 local authorities in total.

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