John West-Burnham

Educational Leadership Development

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Rethinking improvement: closing the gap in the school of tomorrow


I doubt if there is a single educator in this country who has not been actively involved in strategies to secure school improvement and close the gap over recent years. The level of commitment and engagement has been consistently high with real progress in the quality of teaching and school leadership and yet improvement across the whole system is elusive and the gap remains stubbornly wide. While there are highly significant examples of real improvement the overall impact of prevailing orthodoxies in terms of securing equity for all is problematic. Although standards are rising the gap remains and therefore equity remains a fundamental challenge – as it does in many aspects of British society, not just education.

 In the context of this discussion equity is understood in contrast to equality. For example, equality means that every child has the right to go to school. Equity means the every child goes to a good school. Education systems have to be judged by the extent to which they enable achievement and equity.

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