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Identifying disadvantage

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Attainment gap, Damian Hinds

the hands of children on playground apparatus

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the Education Secretary’s speech on disadvantage, and the Prime Minister’s mental health announcement.


Today, Monday 17 June, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds delivered a speech at Reform in London. In his speech, he spoke about challenging misconceptions of disadvantage, and analysed the findings of the Children in Need review published today. This has been covered by the Guardian, BBC Online and Schools Week.

The speech focused on many different areas including supporting children in need, the importance of the home learning environment, and ensuring that not only do more disadvantaged children enter university, but that they graduate and have successful careers.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

We have seen really strong progress in narrowing the attainment gap at each stage - from pre-school to primary to secondary. But we must go further to maximise all children’s chances of reaching their full potential.

To unlock social mobility, obviously you need to understand what holds people back. New data and analysis are giving us key insights on the nature of educational disadvantage, and how it has been changing.  Parental income obviously matters but there are multiple other factors to consider, and these factors can and do overlap and reinforce each other.

The new analysis will help to inform how we work through the school system, and with bodies like the Education Endowment Foundation, to rebalance the odds for more children.

Mental Health

Today, the Prime Minister announced a new mission to put prevention at the top of the mental health agenda. This was covered by the Mail, the Guardian, the Sun, the Telegraph, the Metro, I News, the Times and the Express.

As part of the Prime Minister’s announcement, schools, social workers, local authorities and healthcare services will all receive extra support to make sure people know how to support good mental health in the same way that they look after physical wellbeing.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Too many of us have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of mental illness, which is why tackling this burning injustice has always been a personal priority for me.

But we should never accept a rise in mental health problems as inevitable.

It’s time to rethink how we tackle this issue, which is why I believe the next great revolution in mental health should be in prevention.

The measures we’ve launched today will make sure at every stage of life, for people of all backgrounds, preventing mental illness gets the urgent attention it deserves.

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