Science: ways to improve disadvantaged pupils’ grades go under the microscope

EEF and Royal Society will look at how to raise performance in primary and secondary

Experts are to investigate the best ways to improve disadvantaged pupils’ science results, it was announced today.

Grant-awarding body the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), along with the science body the Royal Society, will be looking at the best way to raise the science performance of children in primary and secondary schools across England.

The two organisations have commissioned a review of existing academic evidence about school science education. It will identify which approaches and interventions are most effective at helping pupils to achieve key educational outcomes in science.

It will also examine methods of raising pupils’ attainment in science. These will include teacher professional-development programmes, one-to-one and small-group tuition, and parental support programmes.

Attainment gap

In particular, the research will focus on which strategies are most effective among pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Recent figures show that only 33.1 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieve five A*-C grades at GCSE, compared with 60.9 per cent of all other pupils.

Sir Kevan Collins, EEF chief executive, said: “The data is clear. Pupils from disadvantaged homes are much less likely than their peers to achieve five good GCSE results.

“We hope to be able to identify the most promising ways to tackle the attainment gap in science.”

The EEF and the Royal Society are seeking proposals from research teams able to complete this review by July this year. The deadline for proposals is 9am on 26 February. The full invitation to tender can be accessed on the EEF website.

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