Hampshire County Council is working with schools to support their teachers to better address the barriers to learning faced by disadvantaged pupils
Building on the work in one secondary school where teacher training and targeted support successfully narrowed the gap between FSM and non-FSM pupils, the council will develop a toolkit to achieve this in other similar schools. This toolkit will help teachers to identify the pupils who need more support, and give them techniques and strategies to improve their performance. EEF target schools will be invited to take part in the project, and Hampshire will work to engage the leaders of the target schools to ensure that the programme has their full support. Around 2 – 3 selected “lead learner” staff in these schools will benefit from training on addressing the specific needs of disadvantaged pupils, using the toolkit. The focus is on increasing the internal motivation of pupils, for example by developing effective feedback and metacognitive strategies. This work will lead to targeted interventions for a small group of disadvantaged pupils in each school. The impact will be constantly monitored so schools can learn from what is working, and lead learners will share their growing expertise. There will also be a focus on the transition from primary to secondary school, by creating clusters around a few secondary schools and involving local PGCE students to help ensure individual learners’ needs are identified.
This is an innovative example of a local authority trying to support school improvement. By working with teachers to design the strategies on how to improve learning and playing a role in overseeing its impact and implementation, it has potential as a way of effectively embedding a focus on disadvantaged pupils across an area.
A team from the London School of Economics, led by Sandra McNally, are using a randomised controlled trial to test the impact of Hampshire Hundreds. Hampshire County Council will select 50 schools that have a high proportion of FSM children and a gap in attainment between disadvantaged and other children, many of which will be below floor standards.
The evaluation is set up as an efficacy trial. Efficacy trials aim to test whether an intervention can work under ideal conditions (e.g. when being delivered by the intervention’s original developer) in greater than 10 schools.
To view the project’s evaluation protocol click here.
The evaluation is due to report in autumn 2014.