Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Help Disadvantaged Students do Better: 3 T&L Learning Strategies, 7 Steps for SLT, and 9 Conclusions

popular strategies schools use to raise attainmentschool pathways to raise attainment over 3 to 5 years

Top Strategies for Getting Better Results with Disadvantaged Students: A Blueprint for All?

According to the results of research published by the DfE this week (Nov, 2015), the following is a summary of what the most successful schools are doing to help disadvantaged students improve educational attainment.

Top 3 Teaching and Learning Strategies:

  • paired or small group additional teaching
  • improving feedback
  • one-to-one tuition

Other findings related to success:

  • “More successful schools were more likely to be using metacognitive/independent learning and peer learning strategies (although this relationship was only statistically significant in secondary schools)”. Metacognitive strategies were defined as those “designed to help pupils to learn how to learn, by encouraging them to think about their own learning more explicitly […] achieved by teaching pupils specific strategies to set goals, and monitor and evaluate their own academic development”.

7 Steps for Leadership Teams:

The report found that while there was no single intervention that had led to success overall, it was possible to identify seven building blocks for success to be implemented by school leadership teams:

  1. Promote an ethos of attainment for all pupils, rather than stereotyping disadvantaged pupils as a group with less potential to succeed.
  2. Have an individualised approach to addressing barriers to learning and emotional support, at an early stage, rather than providing access to generic support and focusing on pupils nearing their end-of-key-stage assessments.
  3. Focus on high quality teaching first rather than on bolt-on strategies and activities outside school hours.
  4. Focus on outcomes for individual pupils rather than on providing strategies.
  5. Deploy the best staff to support disadvantaged pupils; develop skills and roles of teachers and TAs rather than using additional staff who do not know the pupils well.
  6. Make decisions based on data and respond to evidence, using frequent, rather than one-off assessment and decision points.
  7. Have clear, responsive leadership: setting ever higher aspirations and devolving responsibility for raising attainment to all staff, rather than accepting low aspirations and variable performance.

9 Key Conclusions Reached by the Report:

  • Schools which have been more successful in raising the performance of disadvantaged pupils:
    1. Have put the basics in place – addressing attendance and behaviour, setting high expectations, focusing on the quality of teaching and developing the role of TAs
    2. Have moved on to more specific improvement strategies.
    3. Have been identified as ‘early adopters’.
    4. Have supported pupils’ social and emotional needs, addressed individual pupils’ learning needs; helped all staff to use data effectively and improve engagement with families.
    5. Have focussed on early intervention, introducing metacognitive and peer learning strategies and improving their effectiveness in response to data on individual pupils’ progress.
    6. Have been found to then be in a position to set even higher expectations and to spread good practice through working with neighbouring schools and well as continuing to learn from and contribute to national networks.
    7. Have found that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to closing the attainment gap.
    8. Have found that a number of measures are required, tailored to each school’s circumstances and stage on the improvement journey.
    9. Have found these measures to include setting a culture of high expectations for all pupils, understanding how schools can make a difference, selecting a range of evidence-based strategies tailored to meet the needs of individual schools and pupils, and implementing them well.

Source Info:

Research and analysis

Supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils


Department for Education

First published:

5 November 2015

Part of:

Education of disadvantaged children

Applies to:


Research into how schools are raising the attainment of disadvantaged pupils.

Ref: ISBN 978-1-78105-518-2, DFE-RR411

Studio Schools: Experience as a teacher, student or parent of a student at one?

So today I heard for the first time about something called Studio Schools – there are currently 37 of them in the UK. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard the term. I’d heard of Free Schools and PRUs, Academies and Community Schools… but not Studio Schools. As I work in FE they do seem an interesting idea: basically a 14-19 provision of a free school nature, combining the National Curriculum with vocational training and work experience, commonly in a 9am to 5pm working environment.

According to wikipedia a criticism of them is that 14 is considered too young for vocational training and the world of work. Well, I realise that the learning leaving age is now 18, but my mum left school in the 1950s at the age of 14 and she had quite a strong work ethic. I think she preferred work to school and appreciated feeling valued through remuneration. I’m not sure that the 14-19 year olds who attend Studio Schools get any financial benefits from their work experiences, but I’d be interested to hear more. I wonder also what the long term destination data says about employability versus long term unemployment of students who have in the past attended Studio Schools? Also in comparison to achievement data of course.

A full list of Studio Schools is available on the DfE website in the complete list of UK schools, with addresses, school type information, and telephone numbers.

I’ve also copy pasted a list here. Anyone out there with experiences of sending a child to be a student there? Or someone who has taught there perhaps? Please share your experiences and thoughts, pros and cons below in comments.

  1. The Midland Studio College Hinckley, Spa Lane, Hinckley
  2. The Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering, Monkswood Way, Stevenage
  3. Tendring Enterprise Studio School, Jaywick Lane, Clacton-on-Sea
  4. Stoke Studio College for Construction and Building Excellence, A Block, Stoke-on-Trent
  5. Parkside Studio College, Wood End Green Road, Hayes
  6. LeAF Studio, Holloway Avenue, Bournemouth
  7. Bradford Studio School, 88 Thornton Road, Bradford
  8. Barnfield Business and Enterprise Studio, 1 – 9 York Street, Luton
  9. The Studio School Liverpool, 41 Greenland Street, Liverpool
  10. Stoke Studio College for Manufacturing and Design Engineering, Moorland Road, Stoke
  11. Devon Studio School, Newton Road, Torquay
  12. The Midland Studio College Nuneaton, St David’s Way, Nuneaton
  13. Rye Studio School, The Grove, Rye
  14. New Campus Basildon Studio School, Church Walk House, Church Walk, Basildon
  15. Waverley Studio College, 311 Yardley Green Road, Birmingham
  16. Walsall Studio School, 14a Lower Hall Lane, Walsall
  17. The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise, The Old Grammar School
  18. Letchworth Garden City
  19. Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio, Police Street, Darwen
  20. The Future Tech Studio, Winwick Road, Warrington
  21. Vision Studio School, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield
  22. Knutsford Academy The Studio, Bexton Road, Knutsford
  23. Space Studio Banbury, Ruskin Road, Banbury
  24. The Bath Studio School, Frome Road, Bath
  25. Isle of Wight Studio School, Grange Road, East Cowes
  26. Studio West, West Denton Way, Newcastle upon Tyne
  27. Dorset Studio School, Kingston Maurward, Dorchester
  28. Sir Frank Whittle Studio School, Bitteswell Road, Lutterworth
  29. De Salis Studio College, Wood End Green Road. Hayes
  30. Manchester Creative Studio, 16 Blossom Street, Manchester
  31. Apollo Studio Academy, Willerby Grove, Peterlee
  32. Digitech Studio School, Tower Road North, Bristol
  33. Plymouth Studio School, Derriford Road, Plymouth
  34. Atrium Studio School, Balland Lane, Ashburton
  35. Mendip Studio School, Knobsbury Lane, Radstock
  36. Space Studio West London, Letchworth Avenue, Hounslow
  37. The IKB Studio School, Chandag Road, Bristol