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OUR PUBLICATIONS > A review of the research evidence: narrowing the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups

CCE Research

A review of the research evidence: narrowing the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups


March 1, 2008

Author: Sally Kendall, Iain Springate, Megan Jones, et al.

Institution: NFER

Full reference: Kendall, S., Straw, S., Jones, M., Springate, I. and Grayson, H. (2008). A Review of the Research Evidence: Narrowing the Gap in Outcomes for Vulnerable Groups. Slough: NFER

In 2007, the Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned the NFER to review the best evidence on what works in narrowing the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups across the five Every Child Matters (ECM) areas. The review aimed to underpin the Narrowing the Gap Programme, a major development programme being implemented by the LGA and the DCSF.

Key messages of the report

  • strategies promoting children’s health, safety and economic stability all help to provide the necessary conditions to support effective and enjoyable learning and raise achievement
  • interventions to remediate disadvantage and narrow the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups need a long-term focus
  • interventions which adopt an holistic and joined-up approach dealing with the range of obstacles and negative influences holding children back are the most effective
  • interventions that focus on the whole family and involve children learning and working with their parents/carers are some of the most effective
  • interventions need to build upon the positive elements and experiences of children’s and family lives and take account of value and belief systems.

Research Questions

What empirically-based research on narrowing the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups has been carried out in the UK since 2002 (with a particular focus on England and on research carried out since 2004)?

  • Which vulnerable groups are covered in this research?
  • In which ECM outcome areas are gaps being narrowed?
  • What is the evidence for how gaps are narrowed and what is effective, with particular relation to:

– schools improving ECM outcomes and working with other children’s services to improve ECM outcomes
– the engagement of parents and carers in their children’s education and in improving wider outcomes
– early intervention and prevention
– local professional and political leadership.

  • What gaps are there in the research or evidence base?

Methodology

The search strategy for the desk research involved three key lines of enquiry:

  • systematic scanning and identifying of evidence from a range of relevant academic databases;
  • scanning and collection of information and documents from appropriate websites and internet subject gateways;
  • the collection of current policy and practice documents from local authorities via the EMIE at NFER link network.

Go to the journal article.