Westminster Education Forum

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Next steps for raising attainment in England’s schools

reducing the attainment gap | the future role of tutoring | priorities for primary & secondary level | tackling disparities in attainment | student progression & improving outcomes

Afternoon, Thursday, 19th September 2024


This conference focuses on next steps for raising attainment in England’s primary and secondary schools, bringing together key thought leaders, stakeholders and policymakers.

It will be an early opportunity to discuss priorities for policy to support attainment in the new parliament.

Delegates will discuss latest thinking, best practice and key issues for tutoring, looking at its role as a tool in raising attainment. They will explore options for funding, as well as the effectiveness of the National Tutoring Programme, including concerns surrounding how well it reaches disadvantaged students, and alternative options for delivering measurable impact going forward.

They will examine how to address geographical disparities in attainment, the development of targeted interventions for students most at risk of falling behind, as well as how schools can implement targeted interventions to increase social contact between parents and learners and drive engagement.

Attendees will also consider pupil behaviour and absenteeism following the pandemic, and the role and impact so far of attendance hubs announced by DfE in December last year.

Delegates will look at what will be needed from policy moving forward to enable delivery of high and rising standards in early years settings and increase the availability of childcare places. Latest thinking on best practice and strategies to identify children most at risk of falling behind in the early years will be discussed, and next steps for easing transitions to primary school. Strategies will be discussed for boosting language skills for children through early language interventions, and priorities for maintaining progress in literacy and raising attainment in numeracy in key stages 1 and 2.

Looking at strategies for improving disadvantaged student outcomes and progression to FE, HE, and employment, the agenda will bring out views on the role of HEIs and employers in engaging with schools and FE providers to aid progression, next steps for improving attainment for GCSE retakes in English and Maths, and how targeted interventions can improve social mobility for learners.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with Professor Becky Francis, CEO, Education Endowment Foundation.

Overall, areas for discussion include priorities for:

  • early years settings: identifying children at risk of falling behind - early interventions - easing transitions to school - improving early literacy, numeracy, and speech and language education - workforce training
  • primary school attainment: maintaining progress and building upon literacy - improving attainment in numeracy - assessing the effectiveness of early intervention measures
  • tackling disparities: approaches in tackling geographical disparities in attainment, as well as in experiences of disadvantaged learners, including learners with SEND
  • tutoring: assessing the National Tutoring Programme - the effectiveness of tutoring as a tool in raising attainment - funding and resourcing options - increasing access to extra-curricular support
  • secondary schools: reducing absenteeism, including mental health and wider support - DfE’s attendance mentor pilots - improving GCSE attainment - secondary schools and HE collaboration
  • exclusions: priorities for reducing instances - early intervention, preventative measures and behaviour management strategies - improving learner engagement with education
  • engagement: increasing access to and engagement with pastoral support - improving communication with parents and carers 
  • outcomes and progression: improving pass rates in English and maths GCSE retakes - strategies to boost social mobility - progression to FE - widening participation in HE and raising aspirations

Keynote Speaker

Professor Becky Francis

CEO, Education Endowment Foundation

Keynote Speaker

Professor Becky Francis

CEO, Education Endowment Foundation


Kevin Gilmartin

Post-16 and Colleges Specialist, Association for School and College Leaders

Craig Mills

Headteacher, Carlton Junior and Infant School, Wakefield

Glyn Potts

Headteacher, Newman Catholic College, Oldham

Ed Marsh

CEO, The Tutor Trust

Jonathan Broadbery

Director, Policy and Communication, National Day Nurseries Association

Dr Lauren Bellaera

Chief Impact and Strategy Officer, The Brilliant Club

Frank Young

Director, Policy and Research, Parentkind

Dr Jo Van Herwegen

Professor, Developmental Psychology and Education, University College London

Deneen Kenchington

Deputy Headteacher, Ferndown Upper School, Dorset