Narrowing the attainment gap

Female primary teacher with male pupilThe Education Policy Institute’s 2020 report found that the attainment gap between pupils living with disadvantage and their peers had stopped closing for the first time in a decade. In addition, study by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) found "a large and concerning attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged seems that the disadvantage gap is wider than earlier estimates, and will likely be further exacerbated by school closures in early 2021." 
Schools and colleges are now developing programmes to support students’ education recovery and the most effective ingredient for this is great teaching. That's why we're totally focused on providing a range of support from quality first teaching, equipping teachers with the skills to provide a broad and balanced long-term support that we know has the greatest impact.
Online learning will remain crucial - which is why we're growing our online resources via our education recovery packages.
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds can lack inspiring role models. We address this through our varied enrichment programmes - our STEM Ambassadors bring a real life context to STEM careers, and STEM Clubs and Nuffield Research Placements build culture capital. In addition, our ENTHUSE Partnerships work to level the playing field and improve young people's future prospects.
Find out here how we can help school leaders and teachers support pupils living with disadvantage, and narrow the STEM attainment gap. 
  • Quality first teaching
  • Online/home learning
  • Enrichment
  • Role models
  • ENTHUSE Partnerships
Primary teacher teaching pupilsA substantial body of evidence, including from the EEF and Ofsted, tells us that great teaching needs to be at the heart of any education recovery strategy. Without that solid foundation, any education recovery intervention/efforts in narrowing the gap will prove less effective.
This is what our CPD is all about - upskilling teachers in subject knowledge and pedagogy, and our entire CPD programme complements this.
Recently we have developed more remote CPD courses aimed at, for example, supporting disadvantaged learners and supporting effective transition of pupils from year 6 to year 7 in science. These courses include strategies such as introducing the 'Science Capital' teaching approach, developing creative activities to build on prior learning and using diagnostic teaching to address gaps in knowledge and skills. We also know that tutoring is becoming increasingly important, and have developed tailored remote CPD to support this. 

Teacher and pupil on laptopIn 2020 the Department for Education (DfE) outlined its plans to tackle the impact of lost teaching time with a £1 billion package£350 million of this funding will focus on tutoring pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds through the National Tutoring Programme.
Online and home learning has played a key role in narrowing the gap, and this will continue to be the case - which is why we're growing our online resources as part of our education recovery packages in science and maths.
Everything we do is focused on the characteristics of great science teaching, the most impactful and rapid way to get your pupils back on track. By identifying the areas of development needed, we can help you with resources and professional development to support you, to support your pupils, in a sustained recovery.
Here's a selection of useful resources and CPD courses suitable for tutors, teachers and mentors, whether in a school or home learning setting. 



We have a wealth of science resources linked to the curriculum, available for Primary, Secondary within biology, chemistry and physics, and post-16
To support remote learning, we've put together this 'Starters for Science' resource collection with easy activities for children aged 4-11, plus this list of science apps that can be used on smartphones. We also have a range of free remote lessons covering a variety of topics, including evolution, forces and the human body. These have all been created and recorded by our subject experts. 


The National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE) has a number of resources supporting home teaching, including a timetable of sequential, topic-led activities and live online support.
The NCCE is also working with OAK National Academyan online classroom and resource hub providing high-quality video lessons and resources to support teachers, parents and pupils, both at school and at home.
The Teach Computing curriculum contains everything you need to teach computing at key stages 1 to 4, including lesson plans, slides, worksheets, homework and assessment.
At A Level, the NCCE brings you Issac Computing, which support KS5 students to catch up using a self-study approach. Tutors can elect and set self-marking homework questions, pinpoint areas to work on and manage progress in a personal markbook.
The NCCE also has subject knowledge assessments to help you assess where a student is in a particular topic area. These are free online self-marking assessments that allow you to evaluate a student's knowledge to inform your tutoring in the coming year.

CPD courses


There are a number of STEM Learning courses that are remotely delivered and suitable for tutors to develop their skills and subject knowledge at both primary and secondary level. 





To support tutors with the basic principles of computing and computer science, the NCCE has introductory courses at both primary and secondary level.


Introduction to primary computing


KS3 for non-specialists

An introduction to algorithms, programming and data in GCSE computer science

An introduction to computer systems, networking and security in GCSE computer science

Programmes such as STEM Clubs and bring subjects to life and build STEM culture capital, and work placements - such as those offered by the Nuffield Research Placements scheme - provide a fantastic opportunity to contextualise the skills and knowledge learned at school and to work alongside industry professionals.
Linking what students learn in the classroom to the world of work is a powerful way of increasing engagement and confidence. These approaches also have a wider benefit to your school in terms of meeting the Gatsby Career Benchmarks. 

STEM ClubsSTEM Clubs

STEM Clubs aim to enrich the curriculum using imaginative and inventive teaching methods. Because clubs are often led in a less formal, out-of-timetable setting, it can give students the confidence to experiment, explore and ask questions they may not otherwise ask. STEM clubs can benefit your school in a number of ways, from improving inter-departmental working to developing links with local STEM employers.

Nuffield Research Placements

Nuffield Research Placements give year 12 students from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to gain STEM skills and confidence by undertaking active research projects in their summer holidays. This flagship programme was developed and continues to be funded by the Nuffield Foundation, and is managed and operated by STEM Learning.
They are a great way to encourage your students to learn more about a career in STEM research and have been shown to increase access to university courses in STEM subjects. There is no financial cost to your school and getting involved with Nuffield Research Placements will raise the school's profile in your local community. You can also create valuable links with local researchers based in universities, industry and the voluntary sector.
Find out more here.

Code Clubs

Code Clubs are run by a network of volunteers to inspire the next generation to get excited about computing through regular engaging and fun sessions. Part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, they offer young people the chance to be creative and share their creations with each other. Find out more here.

Engineering apprenticeOur STEM Ambassadors bring a career in STEM to life for students and provide them with the opportunity to meet inspiring role models - raising their aspirations too.

STEM Ambassadors

STEM Ambassadors are positive role models who bring STEM subjects to life, demonstrate their value and inspire young people. They represent a vast range of STEM-related jobs and disciplines across the UK. Over 37,000 STEM Ambassadors, from more than 2,500 employers, offer their expertise free of charge to encourage young people to achieve more and progress further in STEM.
The programme is coordinated by 17 local STEM Ambassador Hubs and adopts a targeted delivery approach to support disadvantaged young people. 

Online mentoring

A new digital platform and STEM Ambassador App has streamlined the volunteer experience, enabling a greater focus on engaging groups and locations with the most need. A particular focus for 2020/21 is how technology can enable STEM Ambassadors and others to reach and engage young people and their influencers in innovative ways. We are focusing more closely on under-served groups and geographies, ensuring they get the support which makes the most difference.
STEM Learning are also working with Brightside to mobilise STEM Ambassadors to provide online mentoring to support 2000 year 12 students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This initiative will complement existing provisions, help students navigate the next steps in their education pathway and make informed decisions about their future.
Please contact your local STEM Ambassador Hub to find out more about online mentoring and other ways in which STEM Ambassadors can support you. 

Group of students

ENTHUSE Partnerships

ENTHUSE Partnerships provide groups of 6-8 schools and colleges with £20,000 worth of support, enabling them to work collaboratively to improve teaching and learning in science. ​This might include staff training, resources, teacher placements in industry or universities, coordinated support from volunteers through the STEM Ambassador programme and provision for enrichment activities such as STEM Clubs. This helps to empower schools and colleges to address underachievement in STEM subjects, inspire excellence in the STEM curriculum and raise aspirations, contributing to the Gatsby Careers Benchmarks.
Placement of new ENTHUSE Partnerships will continue to be guided by regional and national education priorities, though they are open to any state-funded schools or colleges in the UK that want to work together. If you're interested, you can find out more about ENTHUSE Partnerships here.
Science Learning Partnerships
Our network of SLPs deliver courses locally to you, providing a cost effective solution to subject-specific CPD. Occasionally there are programmes and support for specific focus areas, such as the Triple Science Support Programme, which aims to increase the number of students studying and entering triple science. Your local Science Learning Partnership can also provide support for your school with a bespoke package. 

Programmes and CPD from National Centre for Computing Education

The school engagement programme focuses on schools situated in category 5 and 6 local authority districts, along with non-GCSE schools. Local subject matter experts are equipped with knowledge and strategies to support you in narrowing the gap. You can contact your local subject matter expert to organise a fully funded consultation.