City Life: ‘Newcastle schools buck the trend’ but the ‘attainment gap’ still exists

The Newcastle City Council’s City Life newspaper Spring 2015 edition, wrote an article stating that ‘official 2014 GCSE results show that more Newcastle pupils have achieved the expected standard than elsewhere in the country and across the region.’ (Citylife Your Council Magazine, Spring 2015, pp.34). Where other school’s performance has fallen nationally after the change in how figures are calculated, schools in Newcastle have risen, despite the tougher measures that have been put in place.

However, they are still aware that the educational ‘attainment gap’ between advantaged and disadvantaged still exists. This gap is still wider in Newcastle than the national average, ‘almost 38% of children from disadvantaged backgrounds achieved good GCSE results in 2014, compared to almost 70 per cent of children who are not disadvantaged. This is an attainment gap of 32 percentage points’ (Citylife Your Council Magazine, Spring 2015, pp.35).

The Newcastle Learning Challenge are investigating why this is, and will be putting together recommendations about how the gap can be narrowed, reporting back in May 2015, but it was this ‘attainment gap’ that inspired the Founder Director, Caroline Afolabi, all the way back in 2006 to set up Success4All. The 7 Learning Hubs have been set up in areas of Newcastle that are marked by poorer backgrounds and low academic attainment to tackle the issue.

Through offering flexible and effective educational activities that enhance and extend mainstream education, between 2006 – 2014, S4A has supported 1,473 children and young people and 58 parents have benefitted from 7 Learning Hubs and numerous Clubs, supported by 24,300 hours freely given by 486 volunteers to contribute to a successful future for all. Every year, we want to keep reaching more children and young people and their families by opening new Learning Hubs in more disadvantaged areas of Newcastle in order to narrow the ‘attainment gap’. We strongly believe that by offering free-low cost extra educational activities directly to communities, we can engage, equip and empower individuals in the community, making them realise that they are in a position to change their social situation and succeed.


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