The ‘School Facing Exceptionally Challenging Circumstances’ pilot project funded by the DFES includes provision for flexibility in the application of the National Curriculum, a reading programme to support non-fluent readers in Year 7 and Year 8, (i.e. for 11 and 12 year old students) the strategic use of data for target-setting and student tracking, innovative uses of information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning for students and networking for teachers, training programmes for teachers and middle managers, the establishment of a school improvement group (SIG) in each school, support for the head teachers, and overall support for building capacity in the schools. The goal of the project is to “raise standards”. Its aim is to “develop and test new and innovative approaches and to research existing practice” in order to raise attainment, particularly at KS4. The DfES describe the project as ‘research-based’ and uses the term ‘action research’. Findings are expected to be not only of advantage to the schools themselves in facing the challenge of low attainment, but also more generally to all schools in challenging circumstances.