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Place matters: will coastal schools ever experience ‘levelling up’?

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Consider seaside towns and villages in England for a moment. Look beyond the sandcastles and ice creams and think about the infrastructure that exists to support (or not) the permanent residents. Ponder the types of employment and access to leisure facilities that coastal communities have. Add to this a narrative of inequity in school funding for schools in ‘deprived’ areas. The picture emerging is one of socioeconomic disadvantage, cultural isolation and geographic remoteness that challenges coastal schools by limiting their access to resources necessary for school improvement. Persistently disadvantaged pupils in these schools continue to attain lower outcomes than similarly disadvantaged urban school pupils at GCSE. Understanding ‘place’ matters; in fact it is crucial to targeting resources and starting any journey toward equity for coastal schools.