Information from Highland Council Education Service about Closing the Poverty-Related Attainment Gap

Information from Highland Council Education Service about Closing the Poverty-Related Attainment Gap

What is this?

​A list of useful websites which contain research-based information on the poverty-related attainment gap. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of websites and does not indicate any endorsement of the content by The Highland Council. However, it may be a useful starting point in finding research-based information to inform your own work in tackling the attainment gap.

Who is this for?

​Teachers, practitioners, local authority staff, educational psychologists and others who are involved in considering how knowledge, for instance from research, can be applied to build capacity for improvement.


Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Programme, New Zealand Ministry of Education

The BES Programme aims to synthesise trustworthy evidence about what works and what makes a bigger difference in education, with a particular focus on strategies that make a difference for all learners – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The site contains the original research reports as well as research-based exemplars in areas such as reciprocal teaching and communities of mathematical enquiry.

Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

The Education Endowment Foundation carries out primarily experimental research which aims to work out which strategies are most effective in breaking the link between family income and educational attainment. The research evidence contributes to the Sutton Trust-EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit, which aims to support schools in using their resources to improve pupil attainment.

Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE)

Provides an overview of the EPPSE study in England, a longitudinal study which has been tracking the progress and development of more than 3,000 children from pre-school to post-compulsory education. There are a number of useful findings on the poverty-related attainment gap, for instance why some children from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed ‘against the odds’.

Growing Up in Scotland (GUS)

Growing up in Scotland is a longitudinal study which has been tracking the lives of thousands of children and their families in Scotland from birth through to the teenage years and beyond. There are important research findings relating to the impact of poverty on educational and other outcomes, for instance how the impact of disadvantage can be mitigated by children experiencing a wide range of activities in the early years.

Institute for Effective Education, University of York

The Institute for Effective Education undertakes research into effective educational programmes, with a particular focus on improving educational outcomes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. There are a range of publications on the site, including Best Evidence in Brief, a free fortnightly e-newsletter of education research news.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Education and Poverty

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation undertakes a large programme of research and development into social issues in the UK. One research programme focuses on education and poverty, and the website currently contains a number of pieces of relevant research exploring how social, educational and economic factors affect learning.

Scottish-specific toolkit development​

A Scottish-specific toolkit is planned to support access to national and international research evidence relating to closing the attainment gap.

This will be based around the EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit. The EEF Toolkit provides an accessible summary of educational research designed to inform discussions on the most effective approaches to improving attainment, with a focus on 5-16 year olds and poverty disadvantage. It contains 34 teaching approaches and interventions, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost.

An initial version of the toolkit has now been made available. This toolkit will be developed over the coming months which will grow to include more Scotland specific content.

This toolkit will be useful for education leaders and practitioners to inform decision making on use of Pupil Equity Funding, raising attainment and improving equity. It can be used in conjunction with the range of interventions and approaches provided above.


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