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Reviewing provision for underperforming vulnerable groups

You can use the self-review questions and practical suggestions in this area to review provision and planning for underperforming vulnerable groups. Depending on the school’s context, such groups may include:

  • looked-after children
  • children from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
  • children who speak English as an additional language (EAL)
  • children entitled to free school meals (FSM)
  • children classed as gifted and talented (G&T), but who are not fulfilling their potential
  • ‘undemanding’ girls from low-income backgrounds
  • children with black African or black Caribbean heritage
  • boys
  • children with special educational needs (SEN).

At national level, data shows that many of these groups make significantly less progress than that of their peers. Schools who look at their own data carefully can identify underachievement in these or other groups.

Obviously not all children in a given group share the same characteristics. However, schools may find that there are shared areas of need or underperformance which can be addressed at all levels within a school. To fail to look for these patterns, and treating children’s weaknesses simply as individual issues requiring individual attention, is potentially to miss opportunities to ask searching questions. Nor is it efficient to provide additional intervention-based support for children when modifications to the curriculum or to teaching approaches might have addressed difficulties earlier.

For more detail on the characteristics of specific vulnerable groups, suggested teaching strategies and questions to review your current provision, see the individual pages for each group.