Narrowing the education gap, a biting challenge for Harrow

disadThe achievement gap between the disadvantaged children and others in Harrow schools fluctuates but has remained a matter of serious concern.
Following is an emerging pattern (source):
A typical 17% gap in achieving the National Curriculum level 4 (average for 11 years old) in 2014 in a high achieving primary school and somewhat lower gap in a low achieving school.
The gap between the most disadvantaged children and the rest begins from as early as 22 months, depending on the socio-economic circumstances of the family.
The gap increases in the secondary schools – a typical 28% gap in 5 GCSEs grades A*-C including English and Maths in 2014, in a high achieving school. The gap remains concerning in a low achieving school.
The government defined disadvantaged children are those on free schools meals (FSM) or looked after or adopted for care.
The educational attainment data for the Corporate Parenting Panel informs that no Looked After Children (CLA) attained 5 GCSEs grades A*-C including English and Maths, despite that 84% of CLA are in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools. Furthermore, none of the GCSE age CLAs are on track for 5 or more A-C*GCSEs.
“As of September 2015, there are 52 pupils in Key Stage 5. 21% (11/52 pupils) are ‘Not Participating in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET). This is not satisfactory as national averages for 16-18 year olds is 15.7%”, alerts the report.
The expectations might be low but the disadvantaged children are not necessarily less able. The learning gaps developed in a classroom, are very difficult to bridge by the activities outside that classroom.
However, following a period of instability and interim arrangements, now an experienced Virtual Headteacher is in post since 1 July 2015 who has presented a promising Harrow Virtual School End of Year Report with strategies to improve the CLA performance by enabling and influencing the schools, and working closely with the well established Harrow School Improvement Partnership (HSIP) .
Good to see an education practitioner in the CLA structure that is over driven by statistics rather than the quality.