Bridging the Gap displays several characteristics that have been identified by the statutory Education Disadvantage Committee as being an essential part of a precisely-targeted, comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to addressing disadvantage in a school context. These include:
1. Curriculum adaptation with particular reference to literacy and numeracy
2. An emphasis on early intervention and prevention of school failure rather than remediation
3. A high degree of parent involvement in the educational process, both in their own homes and in schools
4. The reform of school organisation to develop a unity of purpose and build on existing strength of teachers and pupils
5. Adequate financial resources for schools to operate comfortably
6. A high level of involvement of other community agencies.
(Education Disadvantage Committee, Moving Beyond Educational Disadvantage: Final report, 2005 http://www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/edc_moving_beyond_educational_disadvantage.pdf?language=EN ).
Research carried out on behalf of the Education Disadvantage Committee by Archer and Weir found that many educational intervention projects have shortcomings in three significant areas: they do not give enough attention to developing literacy and numeracy; they do not raise teachers’ and parents’ expectations sufficiently, and they do not include sufficient and appropriate professional development for teachers. Bridging the Gap has focussed specifically on these areas, and the outcomes as shown in the Bridging the Gap Evaluation Reports are very positive.