We should be using evidence of what works to close the attainment gaps, but are we properly evaluating our interventions? Owen Carter looks at the ‘evaluation deficit’...

It is common these days to see education as an engine for social mobility and creating opportunity for those who have the least.

Policies like the Pupil Premium are explicitly intended to support this and address the very real challenges of education in high deprivation areas.

Quite rightly in schools we therefore invest huge amounts of time, money and energy in activities to make a difference, especially to the least advantaged.

But this comes with a flipside. As Becky Allen, in her blog series The Pupil Premium is not working, points out: it can drive “short-term, interventionist behaviours”.

Given accountability pressures, there is an understandable tendency to just do more and more – after-school clubs, one-to-one tutoring, curriculum boosters – in order to make a difference.

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