If Engelmann taught swimming

Becky Allen

I have been thinking about social inequalities and education for the past decade and feel like I’m walking a well-trodden path that has a hopeful ending. Perhaps by telling you where it leads it’ll help you get to a productive destination quicker.

I’ve spent my whole research career thinking that our best hope for fixing educational inequalities is to shuffle children, teachers and money across schools and/or classrooms. That is why I have spent so much time writing about school admissions and choice, measuring school performance, school funding and the pupil premium, and the allocation of teachers to schools and to classes within schools.

We have made essentially zero progress in England in closing the attainment gap between children who live in poorer and richer households. Zero. It is easy to feel despondent about this and wonder whether no solutions lie within the education system.

But two things that have…

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