1st Edition

Reaching the Unseen Children
Practical Strategies for Closing Stubborn Attainment Gaps in Disadvantaged Groups

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2021
ISBN 9781032009322
September 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
204 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

USD $39.95

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Book Description

Reaching the Unseen Children provides a powerful and accessible resource for schools working to raise the attainment of all disadvantaged pupils, with particular emphasis on white children from low-income backgrounds.

This group – especially boys – consistently on average underperform in the education system, and the effects of COVID-19 will only have widened the gap. Drawing on her long experience of working with disadvantaged and left-behind communities, Jean Gross describes the path that many children take, from early language delays to persistent literacy and numeracy difficulties, which lead to progressive disengagement from learning. She argues that progress will only be made through early intervention and building pupils’ sense of capability, and sets out low-cost, low-effort ways in which teachers can transform outcomes for their students – through the everyday language they use, the expectations they convey, and the relationships they build with pupils and their parents.

Providing practical, evidence-based strategies and case studies of schools with outstanding practice, this an essential guide for anyone working in education who is seeking equity for all their pupils.

Table of Contents


  1. We need to talk about Jason
  2. Understanding the gaps: data, theories and research
  3. Myths and wrong turnings
  4. The word gap
  5. The literacy gap
  6. The maths gap
  7. The seven secrets of self-efficacy
  8. No excuse for no excuses?
  9. The importance of social and emotional learning
  10. Secrets of successfully engaging all parents


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Jean Gross CBE is a best-selling author and expert on children’s issues. Formerly the government’s Communication Champion for children, she has led many national initiatives to improve life chances for those who struggle to succeed in our education system. Her previous books published with Routledge include Time To Talk (2018) and Beating Bureaucracy in Special Educational Needs (2015).


‘An extraordinary book. It makes those ‘Unseen Children’ visible to us all with incisive arguments, an array of evidence, along with compelling personal stories. It offers anyone with an interest in education a comprehensive account of the challenges faced by so many children in our education system. And yet, it manages to remain hopeful and practical. It is both a call to arms and a helping hand to everyone in education who wants to address the disadvantage gap and make ‘Unseen Children’ seen, heard and supported to thrive.' 

-- Alex Quigley, the Education Endowment Foundation and author of ‘Closing the Reading Gap’