Too many disadvantaged young people in the North fall behind during their first few years of secondary school. According to Ofsted, the main reasons behind this are:

  • A lack of priority given to students at the start of secondary school by many school leaders;
  • Secondary schools not working effectively with partner primary schools to understand pupils’ prior learning and not building on this knowledge; and
  • Extra school funding being used to support intervention activities at GCSE, often compensating for poor quality provision earlier on.

For children who do not reach a functional standard of literacy and numeracy at primary school, the transition into secondary school often involves being streamed by ability alongside other low attaining students. Usually they will be taught in smaller groups, but school leaders often assign their least experienced teachers to these classes, and so the quality of specialist instruction can be poor. Secondary teachers are also trained to have a certain level of prior knowledge and are not generally expert in teaching more basic concepts.

As a result, the most vulnerable, often lowest attaining pupils can get stuck in a spiral of poor progress and low motivation, leading to attendance issues, behavioural challenges and sometimes even exclusion.

Our Bridging the Gap programme will support children who have not met age related expectations at primary school to address gaps in their previous learning by supporting high quality, specialist teaching programmes in English, maths and science.

For more information about the kinds of ideas we fund, please read our funding criteria.

You can also take a look at the Bridging the Gap projects that we are already funding across the Northern Powerhouse.