This paper reports on the short run impact of one of the U.K. government’s flagship education policies, the Excellence in Cities (EiC) program. EiC is aimed specifically at alleviating poor student achievement in inner city areas. The analysis compares educational attainment in Maths and English for Year 9 (age 14) students before and after EiC introduction in EiC schools as compared to non-EiC schools. School-level absences in treatment and control schools are also compared. The results show a positive, though small, improvement in pupil attainment and a strong reduction in absences within EiC schools relative to schools in the comparison group. We interpret the findings as evidence that policies like EiC can impact positively on pupil attainment and attendance
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