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News - 26 March 2013

Schools told to narrow gap between rich and poor

Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Liverpool, Schools Minister David Laws said there would be increasing focus on how well schools boosted the results of their disadvantaged pupils.

"The chief inspector [Sir Michael Wilshaw] has made clear that Ofsted will increasingly prioritise this area too. No school, however impressive, can be an 'outstanding school' if it is not achieving excellence for its most disadvantaged pupils”

Mr Laws told delegates it was "quite literally intolerable" that in some schools and certain areas of the country almost eight in 10 children on free school meals - a key measure of poverty - failed to get five good GCSEs, including maths and English. At GCSE level there is a 27% gap between the results of poor children and their peers.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“Schools could rise to the challenge and make full use of the pupil premium - a payment worth around £900 per eligible pupil from this September - which has been designed to help schools raise results for poorer children.”

Mr Laws also appeared to offer an olive branch to teachers, saying they did one of the most important jobs in the country. He said it would be "quite wrong" to blame teachers for this "miserable outcome" for those children as the gap was caused largely by inequalities in society.

His conciliatory words come after delegates passed a motion of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Chief Inspector for Schools in England, Sir Michael Wilshaw.
ATL members said the pressure put upon the teaching profession by both men was "horrendous".

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted had also raised concerns about Mr Gove's "wrong-headed" policies.

If you need any help and advice with Free School or Academy Schools, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

ABDS Chartered Certified Accountants of Southampton.
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