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Evaluation of the Extra Mile (2011)

Last updated:
23 February 2016

What is this?

​An evaluation of the Extra Mile initiative in England which focused on how schools could close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, aimed to reduce within school variations and to spread good practice between schools. As part of the initiative participating schools were assigned a School Standards Adviser who visited the schools regularly.

Who is this for?

​Teachers, practitioners and others who are involved in planning or supporting learning for children and young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.

Link(s) to full research article

Evaluation of the Extra Mile 

​About this research

How was the research carried out?

The research used a mixed methods design, including quantitative research methods (e.g. analysis of school-level data) and qualitative research methods (e.g. case study visits to 14 Extra Mile schools which included interviews with staff and pupils). 

What are the strengths of the research methodology?

Mixed methods designs combine qualitative and quantitative research methods. These designs aim to use the strengths of different  methods and to triangulate findings to produce more balanced results and a deeper understanding of the issues.

What is the context for this research?

This research was carried out in England following an investigation into secondary schools which were ‘bucking the trend’ by achieving high results despite being located in disadvantaged areas.  It is important to be aware that the approaches studied may need to be contextualised for application in Scotland due to differences in policy and educational contexts.

Reflective questions

The following questions may provide a stimulus for discussion:

  • In your setting, what is the capacity for “localised problem solving”? How could this be developed?
  • How could your setting improve outcomes for learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds?
  • How could you collaborate with partners to improve outcomes for learners from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds?

About the author(s)

This research report was commissioned by the UK Government’s Department for Education and written by Christopher Chapman, Denis Mongon, Julian Williams, Maria Pampaka, Daniel Wakefield and Sara Weiner (the University of Manchester) and Daniel Muijs (University of Southampton).

Related research/reading

British Educational Research Association (2014). Social Inequality: Can Schools Narrow the Gap? London: British Educational Research Association. 

Teddlie, C. and Tashakkori, A. (2011). Mixed Methods Research: Contemporary Issues in an Emerging Field; in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (Sage Handbooks), 4th. Ed.


This research was not commissioned by Education Scotland and the findings, recommendations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of Education Scotland.

Full reference

Chapman, C., Mongon, D., Muijs, D., Williams, J., Pampaka, M., Wakefield, D. and Weiner, S. (2011). Evaluation of the Extra Mile. London: Department for Education.


Knowledge and research; Scottish Attainment Challenge