Improving schools in difficult and challenging contexts: Strategies for improvement

Christopher Chapman, Alma Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper outlines the contemporary research evidence concerning school improvement in challenging contexts. Drawing upon findings from recent studies in the UK funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) the paper outlines some of the improvement strategies that have been successful in raising achievement in schools in challenging contexts. It argues that school improvement interventions must offer differential strategies for change that fit the particular developmental stage of the school. The paper concludes by suggesting that more fine-grained and differentiated approaches to school improvement are needed that offer more flexibility and choice, particularly for those schools facing difficult or challenging circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • Challenging circumstances
  • Challenging contexts
  • Improvement
  • Strategies


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