How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

The world was saddened and distressed to learn of the shocking Christchurch mosque attacks on Friday, which claimed the lives of 50 people and injured nearly as many. Since then we’ve heard hear...

Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW - avatar Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

The difference in the Christchurch attacks is that propaganda supplied by the perpetrator was available to the professional media, even as the story was breaking.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-N...

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne - avatar Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Autonomous transport will shape our cities' future – best get on the right path early

Cities have a choice of autonomous vehicle futures: cars or mass transit vehicles. Which one we adopt is likely to determine how people-friendly our cities are.SueBeDoo888/ShutterstockA unique opport...

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University - avatar Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

What parents need to know about the signs of child sexual abuse

Significant changes in your child's behaviour could signal they are being sexually abused.from shutterstock.comRecent events, including the conviction and sentencing of George Pell for sexually abusin...

Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice  |  Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Curious Kids: what makes an echo?

Do you think you could make an echo at Echo Point in Katoomba?Flickr/Amanda Slater, CC BYCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to ...

Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW - avatar Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University - avatar Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University

Slimmed-down migration program has regional focus

The government has announced a reduced annual cap on migration of 160,000 for each of the next four years, as well as measures to stream a greater proportion of migrants to regional areas and boost th...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Anxieties over livestreams can help us design better Facebook and YouTube content moderation

Livestream on Facebook isn't just a tool for sharing violence – it has many popular social and political uses. glen carrie / unsplash, CC BYAs families in Christchurch bury their loved ones foll...

Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology

We did a breakthrough 'speed test' in quantum tunnelling, and here's why that's exciting

Future technologies will exploit today's advances in our understanding of the quantum world.Shutterstock/PopTika When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world ...

U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - avatar U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Politicians suing for defamation is usually a bad idea: here's why

There are better ways for politicians to address defamation concerns than through the courts.AAP/Ellen SmithWhen The Project host Waleed Aly began his editorial in the wake of the Christchurch massacr...

Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia - avatar Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia

Births, deaths and rituals: a revamped Ten Days on the Island explores Tasmania's past and present

Youth dance troupe Stompin performed their thought-provoking work Nowhere as part of this year's Ten Days on the Island.Jacob Collings, Lusy ProductionsThis year marks the tenth biennial Tasmanian Art...

Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania - avatar Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A guide for parents and teachers: what to do if your teenager watches violent footage

The world is reeling in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Christchurch. The attack has also raised a number of side issues, including the ethics of broadcasting the live stream of the attack...

Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast

As home care packages become big business, older people are not getting the personalised support they need

Many older Australians prefer to stay at home than enter residential aged care – but the process of securing home care is riddled with complexities.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into...

Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong - avatar Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong

Two ways to fund NSW election promises as property prices crash

Previous NSW election promises were easily funded. Not so this time.ShutterstockState elections are always about spending promises, but this time not much is being said about how they will be funded.L...

Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney - avatar Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney

‘Rape Day’: A new video game glorifying sexual assault raises questions about regulation

nhungboon/ShutterstockA graphic new video game called Rape Day, set to launch in April, triggered a swift and widespread public outcry.Created by an independent developer, Rape Day is a set in a zombi...

Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia

Curious Kids: why do we have two kidneys when we can live with only one?

Right now, your kidneys are getting rid of all things your body does not need. They do this by 'cleaning' your blood. ShutterstockCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you&rsqu...

Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University - avatar Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University

Would you like to grow old at home? Why we’re struggling to meet demand for subsidised home care

In December, more than 127,000 Australians were waiting for a home care package.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is this week turning its focus to aged care ...

Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney

We need a legally binding treaty to make plastic pollution history

The world urgently needs to move past plastic. Veronika MedunaA powerful marriage between the fossil fuel and plastic industries threatens to exacerbate the global plastic pollution crisis. The Center...

Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.Despite Pr...

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton - avatar Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health

Families that spend more on housing may have less to spend on their health.Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.comNew data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’...

Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University - avatar Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

The cruel murder of 50 people in New Zealand was another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what rac...

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University - avatar Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?

Muslims praying in a Chicago mosque following the shooting in New Zealand, on Friday, March 15.AP Photo/Noreen NasirFollowing the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques last week, many Muslim commun...

Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University - avatar Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

imageMeasuring progress on tackling the impact of poverty. Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

Overcoming educational disadvantage is not easy. Even before they enter the school gates for the first time, a variety of factors including inheritance, social class, parenting style and family income are related to children’s capacity to learn in formal education.

On average, children who are entitled to free school meals start school in England with lower scores in reading and maths than their peers. And this trend persists to the end of primary school. This poverty gap may even widen with age. At 16, the gap between children eligible for free school meals and others achieving five or more high passes in GCSE or equivalent, has widened to 26%.

Little progress

Recent attempts to address this issue do not seem to have been successful, as we set out with colleagues in a new collection of research in collaboration with the Demos think tank. Between 2000 and 2007, the differences in performance between children entitled to free school meals and their peers has remained consistent for both maths and English.

The lack of progress reminds us that this is not only an educational issue. Schools and teachers cannot be held solely responsible for addressing the effects of income inequality or other social problems. Nor can we blame neglectful parents, or lack of aspiration among young people. It is at least partly a political issue, with political and economic solutions. Until it is solved, schools and educators must seek to address the educational inequality that currently exists, to enable their pupils to have as fair a chance of educational success as possible.

Where’s the evidence?

A recent reassuring trend has been the cross-party consensus about the need to create and use evidence in education policy and practice. A number of initiatives and institutions have been launched to support this work, such as the What Works centres – the Early Intervention Foundation and Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).

The Teaching and Learning Toolkit produced by the EEF and the Sutton Trust is one example of what has emerged. It provides accessible evidence on which educational interventions have been tested and shown to be effective in improving attainment, and has shown roughly how much these cost. This is now consulted by about half of the schools in England when deciding how to spend their pupil premium funding – additional money given to schools for each child entitled to free school meals.

Not such a Sure Start

But knowing what has been found to work in the past, and in well-funded and controlled trials, is only part of the solution. For example, the early education initiative Sure Start was based on evidence indicating that, on average, early years interventions have tended to be successful in improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged children.

But Sure Start has not been successful in closing the poverty gap for young children. One reason is that it can be difficult to roll out initiatives at a larger scale, often with less funding per person. When projects like this expand, the impact can dissipate as the intervention involves “conscripted” participants rather than just the volunteers taking part in the initial trial.

It also may be that the typical Sure Start intervention did not have the most important ingredients which produced the effects found in the initial research. Or it is possible that those who designed the policy looked at the most successful examples of early years intervention and assumed – or hoped – that these would simply be replicated.

Good bets, but not the only answer

Although some ideas are typically effective – such as providing feedback to pupils or developing their skills and confidence in planning, monitoring and evaluating their own learning – they do not always have these effects. They are “good bets” on average, but they also have a wide spread of impact, including negative, harmful results in some cases.

More than 90 large-scale randomised trials commissioned by the EEF should add to the evidence in the toolkit and help us understand how to scale-up successful interventions. We should not underestimate the challenge here. It will be important to try to improve things which are less successful, as well as replicate those which have been shown to work.

A recent example concerns the contribution of teaching assistants. The evidence a few years ago indicated that, on average, they made very little difference to the attainment of the pupils in the classes they supported. Recent evidence from trials, including two funded by the EEF, showed that where teaching assistants are trained and supported to provide intensive support to pupils in small groups or one-to-one, pupils can make an additional three months progress in reading or mathematics. If this knowledge could be applied across the country, the benefit would be considerable.

Evidence of what has worked in other contexts is a necessary condition for reform. Our best guesses are not good enough. But such evidence on its own is still not good enough. Those in charge of policy still tend to cherry-pick evidence to suit an agenda.

We must not get into the trap of generalising from success stories alone: we need to take a cold hard look at the evidence of what has and has not been successful. We need to apply this critically and rigorously across the system, evaluating as initiatives are scaled-up to ensure that we are successful in improving educational outcomes for those in our schools currently disadvantaged by their economic circumstances.

image

Durham University received funding from the Sutton Trust to produce the Pupil Premium Toolkit. This has subsequently been developed into an online resource, the Teaching and Learning Toolkit, by the Education Endowment Foundation who provide funding to Durham University to support a research review team, led by Steve Higgins.

Robert Coe has received funding from the Economic and Social Research Council, Sutton Trust, Education Endowment Foundation, Pearson, and many individual schools and local authorities.

Stephen Gorard receives funding from the Nuffield Foundation, EU, Education Endowment Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Read more http://theconversation.com/how-to-improve-the-chances-of-poor-children-at-school-34787