“The EPI hits the nail on the head with its recommendations in this report on the state of education in England in 2018. While we should celebrate progress in closing educational gaps between the most and least disadvantaged groups, the EPI is right to conclude that schools are only a small part of the answer. Government needs to do much better at making sure that well-qualified teachers are recruited and supported to stay working in schools, and that it particularly needs to improve its support for schools serving the most disadvantaged communities. Ministers should also acknowledge the deficiencies in the accountability system, which still works against disadvantaged pupils and schools, and which plays a large role in narrowing the curriculum in many schools.
“But the way to close the attainment gap is to close the poverty gap. Policies aimed at ensuring high quality early years education and care, support for families and in particular for maternal health, and a proper strategy to alleviate poverty should be high on the agenda of this government when it returns in September.”