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- 1 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Social Mobility – Narrowing Social Class Attainment Gaps A summary of the evidence and lessons for policy making Stephen.

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Presentation on theme: "- 1 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Social Mobility – Narrowing Social Class Attainment Gaps A summary of the evidence and lessons for policy making Stephen."— Presentation transcript:

1 - 1 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Social Mobility – Narrowing Social Class Attainment Gaps A summary of the evidence and lessons for policy making Stephen Meek Director of Strategy, DfES 26 April 2006

2 - 2 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Overview of the work Extensive review of evidence to explore : What we know about social class attainment gaps? What drives the attainment gap? What impact has policy had, and what are the lessons for policy making?

3 - 3 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Other countries experience confirms the nature of the challenge, and shows that this issue is not unique to the UK Relationship between the average performance of participating countries on the PISA reading literacy scale and the socio-economic gap in student performance: 2000 Size of gap not inevitable, but: Driven by deep social factors more than structure of education system (though feedback) Hardest to reach are hard to reach.

4 - 4 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Creating a high-performance/high-equity system: reducing the attainment gap and increasing the average level of attainment Attainment Levels High Low NOWTHE FUTURE Average: High SEG Average: All Average: Low SEG Gap Average: High SEG Average: All Average: Low SEG Gap Educational Attainment Levels in England: Present and Future (Indicative Only) Achieving both of those objectives simultaneously is challenging

5 - 5 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT What do we know about social class attainment gaps? What drives the attainment gap? What impact has policy had, and what are the lessons for policy making?

6 - 6 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT There is evidence of a social class attainment gap at Foundation Stage… Percentage of 5 year olds achieving a good level of development by the end of Foundation Stage in schools in Sure Start areas compared with all schools in England (national average): 2005 (%)

7 - 7 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT …the attainment gap is similarly evident at pupil-level across all Key Stages in School… Average Point Score for Pupils by Free School Meal (FSM) Status for Key Stages 1 to 4: 2005 (Points) Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 (2) Non-FSM Pupils FSM Pupils

8 - 8 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT As well as increases in attainment, there has been a minor narrowing of the gap at KS3 and 4, though overall gap remains signficant Change in Average Point Score for Pupils by Free School Meal (FSM) Status for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 (Points) Key Stage 2 ( )Key Stage 3 ( ) Key Stage 4 ( ) Non FSM TotalNon FSM Total Non FSM Total Minor narrowing Minor widening Minor narrowing (1) Points Improvement

9 - 9 - DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT While prior attainment becomes increasingly important, deprivation has impact at all attainment levels Proportion in FT Education at 16 by Year 11 Attainment and Parental Occupation Classification (NS-SEC): 2003 (%) Prior Attainment at GCSE

10 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Unqualified school leavers who go on to acquire a level 2 qualification have better job prospects Employment rates of unqualified school leavers who later attain against qualified school leavers (%)

11 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT What do we know about social class attainment gaps? What drives the attainment gap? What impact has policy had, and what are the lessons for policy making?

12 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Social factors are the biggest driver of the attainment gap – but our educational levers are stronger Tackling social factors is critical, but they are harder to affect Educational interventions can be effective, even though their potential impact is smaller The most significant factors behind a childs achievement are social, and in particular, parental. However, it is harder for government to intervene to effect change here. Though less of a driver of the social class attainment gap than social factors and individual characteristics, the evidence of the positive impact of educational interventions is more tangible.

13 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT What do we know about social class attainment gaps? What drives the attainment gap? What impact has policy had, and what are the lessons for policy making?

14 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Summary: Early years Pre-school attendance has a positive effect on attainment in primary school, Access to childcare provision supports parental employment, which is likely to lead to better child outcomes Lessons for policy making take-up is lower among children from lower SEGs – we need a better understanding of any quality gap and its impact on child development Evidence from the Sure Start evaluation points to ensuring interventions reach the most disadvantaged Need to sustain impact through school for early investment to have lasting consequences

15 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Summary: family policy Improving family circumstances Specific interventions to improve parenting skills Young people who live in single-parent/carer households or workless households often have lower attainment levels Increasing employment rates should raise family income, and permanent income does appear to matter for child development. The Department can support employment through access to childcare and through improving adult skill levels limited evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve parenting skills, those programmes which have an impact are often highly targeted, specialised and costly

16 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Summary: School age School System Curriculum, Teaching and Support Risks that the present floor target regime on its own doesnt sufficiently focus effort on the lowest attaining pupils, or on children with potential to achieve very highly Intervention in failing schools has disproportionately benefited deprived pupils Funding is distributed at national level to recognise deprivation but this is often not reflected in Local Authorities allocation Increased funding can drive higher attainment among low SEG pupils, especially if linked with particular teaching and learning strategies Use of personalised interventions such as catch-up literacy and small group tuition can help FSM children Extended Schools have considerable potential – but need to ensure access Not just for low-attaining deprived pupils – deprived pupils at risk of slower progress at all levels of attainment Education Bill ensures pupils from deprived backgrounds are not disadvantaged in admissions, and are supported in making choices about schools. Funding Choice and Access

17 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Summary: Qualifications and Curriculum Reforms have Two Broad Objectives 1.Breaking the cycle of student disengagement Participation lower among low SEG groups 2.Raising attainment Ensuring that all students reach Level 2 by age 19:a new ambition for 85% of all young people to achieve this by 2013, rising to 90% thereafter

18 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Summary: 19+ HE - while prior attainment is the key determinant of access to Higher Education, aspirations and expectations still play a critical role. Raising the skill levels of adults with few or no qualifications has potential intergenerational benefits, but making significant inroads into the stock is a big challenge, And evidence from the National Employer Training pilots suggested a need for targeting of employers who do not already provide time off for low skilled employees to train to qualifications to extend reach and impact

19 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Six general lessons underpin our approach to narrowing the social class attainment gap 1. Higher Profile 2. Better Measurement 3. Early and sustained high quality interventions 4. Personalised Interventions 5. Improved understanding of key groups 6. Sharing Best Practice

20 Department for Education and Skills Key conclusions We are seeking to achieve an education system characterised by excellence and equity The evidence suggests that we need to think hard about accountabilities and incentives in the education system Key areas include: A continued focus on raising attainment for all in the early years -A target to increase the number of children at age 5 who achieve a good level of development from 48% to 53% by 2008 Incentives to encourage progression for all students at all key stages, and possibly a target to this effect Ensuring that nearly all students reach Level 2 by age 19 -A new ambition for 85% of all young people to achieve this by 2013, rising to 90% thereafter

21 DfES Strategy Unit DRAFT Social Mobility – Narrowing Social Class Attainment Gaps A summary of the evidence and lessons for policy making Stephen Meek Director of Strategy, DfES 26 April 2006


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