What are the main factors that help disadvantaged schools to excel academically?  New research shows that the keys are experienced principals, explicit teaching and strong school discipline.

A trailblazing study from the Centre for Independent Studies has found six common policies and practices that help disadvantaged primary schools to succeed.

Key factors include long-term leadership, a disciplined culture and explicit teaching. Also important are early reading instruction, effective use of student data and professional development for teachers.

Significantly, the high-achieving schools received similar funding to other disadvantaged schools. The study indicates how disadvantaged primary school can boost academic results without additional funding.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds can succeed at school with the right policies and practices, but without taxpayer spending.

Several principals said that disadvantaged students often found enquiry-based learning problematic because students from low socio-economic backgrounds may lack adequate background knowledge.

The author of the study, Blaise Joseph, said the debate should move from the amount of funding to how it is used.

More information about the study is available in "Keys to school success revealed: poor schools need strong teachers" by Rebecca Urban: