Attainment gap: Five-point plan includes overhaul of curriculum, admissions and examinations

A five-point plan to overhaul England’s education system and boost our work to close the attainment gap between rich and poor has been put forward by school leaders.

The Association of School and College Leaders has published its Blueprint for a Fairer Education System, which targets fundamental reforms to things like admissions, SATs, GCSEs, and the national curriculum (ASCL, 2021).

In 2019, researchers famously predicted that, based on current progress, it will take more than 500 years to close the attainment gap (Hutchinson et al, 2019) – a situation which has been exacerbated by Covid-19.

ASCL sets out reforms across five core “building blocks” that it says will help boost the closing of the attainment gap.

1, Curriculum

The blueprint states: “A core national curriculum, mandatory for all state schools until the age of 16, focused on what we collectively agree are the most important things children and young people should know and do. This is relatively stable, with regular but infrequent opportunities for review. Young people can branch off into different pathways as they get older. These pathways are all of a high quality and can be combined and moved between.”

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