Analytical Thinking Closing the Gap Education G&T NPQSL

Mind the gap!

That there are strong practical and moral arguments for addressing gaps in educational attainment is easy to accept. In ‘The Light is Worth the Candle’ Professor Denis Mongon writes that closing these gaps “is a contribution to three distinct though overlapping ambitions that any society should expect of its education service:

  • private returns, the personal benefits to individuals, often expressed in terms of income, occupation, wellbeing and health
  • social returns, often expressed as improvements in general health, social participation and social cohesion
  • economic returns, generally thought of as increases in employment and labour productivity (Blundell, Dearden & Sianesi, 2001, quoted in Owens, 2004)”

“Closing the gap is about identifying those groups of students who are least successful in a school or network of schools, reflecting on the causes and taking action to raise the students’ outcomes closer to the averages in that context and therefore closer to or, in high-attaining contexts, even further beyond, national averages.” (Leadership for closing the gap and reducing variation in outcomes: developing a framework for action Mongon, D. &  Chapman, C.  National College for School Leadership, 2011)

Closing the gaps is not sufficient however. Getting closer to the average is short sighted. What is required is a paradigm shift not a series of incremental improvements. In my opinion this could be achieved by shifting our attention to the front of the curve rather than focusing on the middle or tail.

Active History G&T History Local History

Active Local History – Restoring Pride in Our Local Heritage

Castle 4Over the last year I’ve been working with pupils in Y7, Y8 and Y10 on a spot of local history. The “Eye: A Castle Connected” project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and Mid Suffolk District Council has involved renovation work at Eye Castle, outreach work with local primary schools and a variety of art, music and ICT workshops here in school. The Y8 and Y10 pupils have been particularly involved throughout the project and have made a significant contribution to the running of workshops, the design and production of resources for primary school children,information boards within the castle grounds anda new smart-phone app which will be available to download in the next month or so.

Education G&T

Higher Education Field Academy (HEFA) 2013 – Cambridge University

HEFA 2You may be familiar with the Channel 4 Time Team programmes which have done a great deal to popularise archaeology since 1994. Although our school site has not (yet) featured in the series it is nevertheless no stranger to archaeological investigations and has ‘turned up’ some interesting finds over the last decade. The building work for new sports facilities necessitated surveys that revealed a fascinating history of occupation from Anglo Saxon times to the present day. I was pleased therefore to have twelve pupils from our Y9 & Y10 accepted on Cambridge University’s HEFA which is run by Carenza Lewis who has also appeared on Time Team.

Education G&T

Stepping Stones To Excellence

Stepping Stones To Excellence

“Widening access and improving participation in higher education are a crucial part of our mission. Our aim is to promote and provide the opportunity of successful participation in higher education to everyone who can benefit from it. This is vital for social justice and economic competitiveness.” HEFCE (

 If you search Google for the phrase “every journey starts with a small step” you get about 39,800,000 ‘hits’. The fact that you have to start a journey in order to get to your destination is self evident. Often however this first step can be as much about overcoming a psychological barrier as anything physical.