Challenging the challenged: developing an improvement programme for schools facing exceptionally challenging circumstances

Other title(s): Challenging the challenged: developing an improvement programme for schools facing exceptionally challenging circumstances

Author(s): James, Sue; Reynolds, David; Harris, Alma; Clarke, Paul; Harris, Belinda

Date: 2006

Pages: p. 425-439

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This article outlines a research and development programme that focused on a group of 8 secondary schools in England. 1 The schools in this study were considered to be facing exceptionally challenging circumstances characterised by high levels of socioeconomic disadvantage and deprivation. They were also schools considered to be seriously underperforming and in need of intensive improvement and support strategies. The article outlines the background, nature, and scope of the improvement programme designed for this group of schools, collectively known as the "OCTET" group. It reflects upon the emerging evidence about improving schools in the most difficult circumstances and argues that more context-specific programmes of intervention are required if the goal of raising performance in such schools is to be realised.

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