Closing the Gap


Over the past few years there has been growing alarm among education commentators that an obsession with exam performance is having a harmful effect on the broader school curriculum. Up until now, however, there has been little attempt to gauge if teachers and parents share those concerns.

This report, which includes surveys commissioned with YouGov and opinion pieces from leading educationalists, is an attempt to plug that gap in our knowledge. It will help readers understand what schools and Trusts can do to implement a balanced curriculum at Key Stage 3 and in primary school in the run up to Key Stage 2, with a particular focus on disadvantaged children.

It looks at:

  • Whether teachers think exam pressures are leading schools to narrow the curriculum
  • The impact a focus on exams can have on classroom behaviour and the attainment gap
  •  The benefits that reading during Key Stage 3 can have on a child’s wider learning
  • How a narrow curriculum can impact children with SEND
  • How assessments can be used to help schools build sound foundations for learning at KS3 and support schools in implementing a broad and balanced curriculum
  • Some easy and effective strategies other schools and Trusts are implementing to address these issues
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