Jonathan Sharples, Robert Slavin, Bette Chambers, and Caroline Sharp (2011)
This review, published by the Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People’s Services (C4EO), has shown that improving classroom practice can close the achievement gap for children living in poverty. The authors found that it is the quality of teaching that makes the biggest difference to learning outcomes.
Effective Classroom Strategies For Closing The Gap In Educational Achievement For Children And Young People Living In Poverty, Including White, Working Class Boys looked at the international research on “what works” in improving learning outcomes for children in poverty. The review focused on strategies and interventions to improve core literacy and numeracy across early-years, primary and secondary settings. It found that there are a number of approaches that can help. These include:
Other approaches that were found to be less successful included adopting new curricula and the traditional use of ICT (eg, individualised self-teaching programmes).
The findings of the review are in line with the Department for Education’s recent White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, which said that “All the evidence from different education systems around the world shows that the most important factor in determining how well children do is the quality of teachers and teaching.”
For the Institute for Effective Education, Estelle Morris said:
"In this climate of financial austerity it is crucial that schools target any new resources for children from low-income backgrounds towards interventions that are proven to raise outcomes. Identifying, and encouraging the use of, evidence-based interventions and strategies in schools should be a priority."
"At the Institute for Effective Education, we think that it is vital that practitioners have access to reliable information on ‘what works’ in education, so that they can make wise choices for their schools and children."
Christine Davies CBE, Director of C4EO states:
"We are delighted that the timing of this review coincides with the Government’s White Paper. The review is a signpost to what works across the UK and indeed the rest of the world and contains a wealth of information to help improve educational achievement for children and young people living in poverty."
"In the last few months C4EO has been actively involved in early intervention for children, families, and communities work. The review points out that ‘intervening immediately is most effective for primary reading, where preventative whole-class strategies are adopted first, followed by tutoring for the small number of pupils who still need it’. This is just one example of the importance of early intervention across all aspects of improving outcomes."