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How a Whole School Approach Can Close the Attainment Gap and Foster Academic Success

Jese Leos
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Published in Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap
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Students Collaborating In A Classroom Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

Are you tired of witnessing the achievement gap among students? Do you believe every child has the potential to excel academically? It is time to implement a whole-school approach to closing the attainment gap.

Understanding the Attainment Gap

The attainment gap refers to the persistent disparity in educational achievement between different groups of students, typically based on factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and special educational needs. This gap not only affects individual students but also has broader implications for society and our future.

Research suggests that a whole-school approach can be highly effective in narrowing this achievement gap and ensuring that all students have equal opportunities to succeed. This approach involves addressing various aspects of a student's educational journey and creating a supportive environment that fosters academic success.

Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A whole school approach to closing the attainment gap
Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A whole school approach to closing the attainment gap
by Kathrine Mortimore(Kindle Edition)

4.5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 8152 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
X-Ray : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 207 pages
Lending : Enabled

The Importance of Leadership and Vision

School Administrators Discussing Strategies Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

At the heart of a successful whole-school approach is strong leadership. School administrators need to set a clear vision for closing the attainment gap and communicate it to the entire school community. This ensures that everyone is aligned and working towards a common goal.

Leadership also involves empowering teachers and providing them with professional development opportunities. When teachers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, they can effectively support students from disadvantaged backgrounds and facilitate their progress.

Creating an Inclusive Curriculum

Diverse Group Of Students Studying Together Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

A key aspect of the whole-school approach is the creation of an inclusive curriculum that reflects the diverse needs and experiences of students. The curriculum should be adapted to accommodate various learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and abilities.

By incorporating different perspectives, diverse narratives, and culturally relevant materials into the curriculum, schools can help students feel represented and engaged. This sense of belonging is crucial in motivating students to excel and closing the attainment gap.

Providing Additional Support

Tutor Assisting A Student Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

Effective whole-school approaches involve identifying students who need additional support and providing them with tailored interventions. This can include one-on-one tutoring, mentoring programs, and targeted resources to address specific learning needs.

Building strong relationships between students and teachers is also essential. Research shows that positive teacher-student relationships contribute significantly to student achievement. By fostering supportive connections, schools can help students overcome barriers and reach their full potential.

Engaging Families and Communities

Parents And Teachers Discussing Student Progress Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

A comprehensive approach to closing the attainment gap recognizes the importance of involving families and communities in the educational journey. Schools should actively engage parents through regular communication, parent-teacher conferences, and workshops.

Creating partnerships with community organizations and businesses can also provide additional resources and opportunities for students. By working together, schools and communities can create a web of support that nurtures academic success for all students.

Evaluating and Celebrating Success

Students Celebrating Their Achievements Disciplinary Literacy And Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A Whole School Approach To Closing The Attainment Gap

To ensure the effectiveness of a whole-school approach, it is crucial to continuously evaluate progress and celebrate success. This involves tracking academic outcomes, analyzing data, and adjusting strategies as needed.

Recognizing and celebrating the achievements of students, especially those who have overcome significant barriers, encourages a positive learning environment and motivates others. By highlighting success stories, schools inspire all students to believe in their potential and strive for excellence.

Implementing a whole-school approach to closing the attainment gap is not an easy task. It requires dedicated leadership, inclusive curriculum development, targeted support, engagement of families and communities, and a commitment to continuous evaluation and celebration. However, the benefits of such an approach are immeasurable.

By addressing the factors that contribute to the attainment gap at every level, schools can create an environment where all students have the opportunity to thrive academically. Let us work together to bridge the gap and empower every student to reach their full potential.

Sources:

  • Martin, J. & Martin, K. (2012). Achieving Educational Excellence: A Whole-School Approach to Closing the Attainment Gap. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
  • Caldwell, B. J. (2017). The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model: A New Approach for Addressing Student Well-Being and Learning. Journal of School Health, 87(4),310–318.
  • Morton, T. (2019). Closing the Attainment Gap: Lessons Learned. British Educational Research Journal, 45(2),239–256.

Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A whole school approach to closing the attainment gap
Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching: A whole school approach to closing the attainment gap
by Kathrine Mortimore(Kindle Edition)

4.5 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 8152 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
X-Ray : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 207 pages
Lending : Enabled

Firmly rooted in research evidence of what works within the classroom for our most disadvantaged students, Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching offers teachers and school leaders practical ways in which those students who are behind in their literacy capabilities can make excellent progress.


Building on the work of Geoff Barton in his influential book Don't Call it Literacy, Kathrine Mortimore outlines the unique literacy challenges posed by specific subject areas for those with weaker literacy skills, and more importantly how these challenges can be addressed and overcome. A student's GCSE results are vital in giving them the choices they deserve in order to go on to the next stage of their academic careers.


This book draws on the success stories of schools and subjects that have made significant improvements in the outcomes of the children they teach, regardless of their starting points. From the inevitable success of Michaela Community school, to the gains made by the English department at Torquay Academy and the rapid reading improvements at Henley Bank, this book draws on both whole school initiatives and subject-specific strategies which have had proven success.


This book places a wide and balanced knowledge-rich curriculum at the centre of any school improvement strategy designed to improve literacy, and illustrates the role that all subjects must combine to play in building the vital background knowledge and vocabulary that young people need in order to read independently. This curriculum must then be delivered using those teaching methods that have had the greatest impact on disadvantaged learners, and this book sets out how the methodology of direct and explicit instruction can be adopted within each subject area.


Alongside this is a useful summary of staff development and inset which offers practical ways in which teachers' adoption of these effective strategies can be facilitated. There are also useful sections on creating a whole school dictionary of essential vocabulary, creating a culture of reading and writing, and also those key literacy barriers experienced by those students with some of the most common special educational needs.

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