How you can help

We invite you to become a partner in our mission to break the link between family income and educational achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential.

The problem the attainment gap

  • Some 2 million (29%) children and young people aged 4-16 in this country are classified as disadvantaged. They will start primary school behind their better-off classmates – and this attainment gap will increase throughout their schooling.
  • The latest figures show just 36% of pupils eligible for free school meals achieved 5 good GCSEs, including English and Maths, compared to 63% of all other pupils.
  • The attainment gap between pupils from poor and rich backgrounds is particularly stark compared with other OECD countries. Pupils from poorer backgrounds do worse than their wealthier peers whichever school they are in.
  • Young people with poor educational attainment are much more likely to end up not in education, employment or training (NEET) – as a country we simply cannot afford to waste this talent.

Our approach to tackling it

  • We think that better use of evidence can make a real difference by helping schools and Early Years settings spend money more effectively to improve the teaching and learning of pupils, especially for those from from low-income families.
  • That's why the EEF invests in evidence-based projects which focus on tackling the attainment gap.
  • We then test these ideas rigorously: everything we do is independently evaluated by top research institutions, the vast majority as randomised controlled trials.
  • We publicly report all the results of these independent evaluations and include them within our Teaching and Learning Toolkit and its Early Years companion so that schools and Early Years settings have the best possible evidence on which to base their own professional judgements.
  • We will then scale up those interventions shown to be most effective and cost-effective.

For example… The evidence consistently shows that teachers offering effective feedback to their pupils is especially important to children from low-income backgrounds. However, doing this well is easier said than done. That’s why we’re awarding a number of grants to trial different ways in which schools can improve their feedback – such as by improving the reading comprehension of struggling 11 year-olds or by supporting teachers to apply effective feedback in their classrooms. These projects are being independently evaluated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the University of Birmingham respectively.

You can support our work in 3 specific ways...

  1. You can make a donation to support the work of the EEFyou can contact us to donate now. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our work. You can choose, if you wish, whether to support our work in improving teaching, or in finding out the best targeted ways to support disadvantaged pupils, or in engaging parents and communities. Funders wanting to partner with the EEF on specific projects can find out how to do so here.
  2. You can find out more about how to put evidence to use in schools. If you’re a school-leader, teacher, parent/carer or a governor, find out how your school is doing compared to other, similar schools using our Families of Schools database. If they don’t know about it already, our Teaching and Learning Toolkit and Early Years Toolkit enables schools and Early Years settings to access the evidence that can inform their decisions. And why not consider registering your interest in taking part in an EEF-funded trial - 1-in-3 schools in the country have already done so.
  3. You can continue to keep in touch with us. If you like the EEF’s rigorous, evidence-based approach – identifying, testing and scaling what works in raising the attainment of children from low-income backgrounds – then please sign up for our regular ‘Working with Partners’ newsletters, and follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook.