Attainment gap tops teachers concerns this Autumn term

One in five teachers and head teachers (19%) believe addressing the attainment gap will be the biggest challenge this autumn terms, according to new research from edtech provider Renaissance.

The research asked senior school leaders, department heads, and teachers about their views and key challenges ahead of the Autumn school term.
Measuring and addressing the attainment gap caused by Covid-19 recovery were cited as the top challenges this upcoming term with nearly 40% of teachers revealing they felt unprepared to measure learning loss, and almost half (48%) felt unprepared to act on attainment differences. The cost-of-living crisis was also listed as a top concern with 1 in 5 (20%) of teachers concerned about its impact on colleagues and pupils.
Assessment will be key to closing attainment gaps this academic year and over three-quarters of teachers (77%) are planning to assess their pupil’s progress at the start of term. The majority (76%) of teachers felt literacy learning loss would be the hardest to close, but maths skills were also a concern for 1 in 5 teachers (20%), with over a quarter (27%) citing numeracy skills such as fraction, decimals and percentages as the most difficult to close.
However, there is a silver-lining to the past two years of pandemic disruption as three-quarters of teachers (75%) said their confidence in using edtech had increased. This is a 4% uplift compared to July 2021, when 71% of teachers said their edtech confidence had grown. 
With such a variety of online tools available, experts at Renaissance are encouraging schools to take advantage of teachers’ improved edtech confidence and expand their digital offering to recover learning and help pupils meet expected standards.
Teachers can use curriculum-aligned Focus Skills from Renaissance, made freely available through dedicated Teacher Workbooks, to plan lessons that support pupils in learning year-appropriate skills. When combined with formative assessment, Focus Skills can save teachers time and support them in creating tailored lesson plans, meaning pupils spend more time learning and are given more specific support for their developmental needs.
Joan Mill, Manager Director, International at Renaissance said “We know teachers will be facing a wide range of issues as they return to the classroom this Autumn term – from recovering summer learning and pandemic-related loss, to challenges caused by the cost-of-living crisis. This timely research is indicative of the many insights only an edtech provider of our depth and breadth of experience can supply. At Renaissance, we continue to invest in innovative solutions designed to support School and MAT leaders, to help improve education outcomes throughout and beyond the 2022/23 academic year, and to accelerate learning for all. Our resources and solutions provide both a roadmap for identifying, and tools for closing, persistent attainment gaps – allowing teachers to focus on educating pupils, guiding their learning development and planning tailored programmes.”
Rebecca Cox, Chief Executive of Hales Valley Trust, an all-primary academy trust, based in Dudley, West Midlands said: “The attainment gap caused by Covid-19 continues to be a challenge for teachers across the country and I know it will be a top priority for teachers across our trust this Autumn term. We have successfully utilised the edtech solutions available to date, using Accelerated Reader and Star Assessments to both measure and act on existing learning loss, but this will continue to be important this new academic term to ensure all pupils are progressing to the best of their ability.”

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