Each school receives a Pupil Premium grant based on the number of eligible pupils on roll. This grant is additional funding designed to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. Disadvantaged children include children from low-income families who were eligible for free school meals or had been looked after continuously for more than six months.
Pupil Premium was extended in April 2012 to include children who had been eligible for free school meals at any point in the last six years. A premium has also been introduced for children whose parents are currently serving in the Armed Forces.
The Government recognises that it is for schools to decide how the Pupil Premium is spent because schools are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the individual pupils within their responsibility.
Rationale for the use of Pupil Premium Funding
We have opted for four forms of provision that are most likely to have the greatest attainment on pupil progress for our disadvantaged groups including Pupil Premium pupils.
Quality First Teaching
This refers to providing high quality teaching delivered by the class teacher supported by effective classroom assistants. This particularly suits Pupil Premium children who are working at the required standard or above.
The reason for this are outlined below and is based on research from the Sutton Trust.
‘The effects of high-quality teaching are especially significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds: over a school year, these pupils gain 1.5 years’ worth of learning with very effective teachers, compared with 0.5 years with poorly performing teachers’.
The Sutton Trust : Improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK – interim findings’ September 2011
Whilst this may inadvertently benefit all pupils, we believe disadvantaged pupils will benefit more than investing the same funding into an ’intervention’ programme.
Indeed quality first teaching or lack of maybe a factor why a disadvantaged pupils fall behind or further behind in the first place which then requires the need for a ‘catch up’ programme.
We have examined the teaching pedagogy used in Shanghai and how the teaching style and high expectations of all pupils helps disadvantaged children keep up with their peers rather than widen the gap. The thinking behind this approach is ‘keep up, not catch up’.
Again, the Sutton Trust in May 2009 reported in their paper entitled, Attainment gaps between the most deprived and advantaged that disadvantaged pupils derive additional educational benefits from being educated with pupils with higher levels of prior attainment, and lower levels of deprivation.
The Sutton Trust refers to as the ‘peer effect’. We believe the ‘peer’ effect’ is a contributory factor is raising attainment and aspiration of our disadvantaged pupils particularly in our context. We do not want to undermine this by unnecessarily withdrawing children from their peers; rather we want their peers have a positive impact alongside highly effective teaching. Further research from the Sutton Trust Improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK (2011) indicates that the most effective high impact low cost strategies for raising achievement can be achieved a relatively little cost by an effective teacher.
An element of Pupil Premium is therefore allocated to improving the quality of teaching (Quality First Teaching) through professional development, additional non-contact time and the recruitment and retention of skilled Learning Support Assistants as well as salaries.
Whilst it is more difficult to ascertain the impact of a more implicit use of Pupil Premium funding than a ‘catch up’ programme that has clear objectives an intervention can be measured against, this should not be a reason not to invest in Quality First Teaching. The evidence suggests our approach is effective because our
Pupil Premium children achieve well in relation to similar pupils nationally and it is our tailored blended approach underpinned by research that is a contributory factor in this. Each child attracting Pupil Premium has been carefully screened using our own screening tool to identify their learning needs. The most appropriate provision is then put in place. This may be academic needs in specific subjects or other needs that impact on their progress such as attendance, access to learning materials, attitude, behaviour, cultural experiences, homework, social and health needs etc.
We the track how well these pupils perform relative to national expectations and put plans in place to accelerate progress.
In some circumstances, timely targeted invention maybe appropriate to accelerate learning in order that pupils can catch up and put them back on track to meet national expectations. This type of provision best suits children where there is a noticeable gap between the child’s attainment and the attainment of their peers or pupils nationally.
Interventions are usually delivered by Learning Support Assistants and can include :
Specific resources may be required to support learning in the classroom. For example, we have equipped classrooms with Montessori equipment to support concrete learning, sensory equipment, angled writing desks, reading schemes, online learning tools such as RM Easi-Maths and Reading Pro.
We have also invested in the school library and an assessment model for reading based on Lexile Assessment and NFER assessments to track more carefully progress.
We may consider subsidising the cost of additional provision that is not subject to voluntary contributions e.g. Board and Lodgings, One to One tuition, extra-curricular provision
When planning Pupil Premium provision, context and flexibility is really important as well as securing value for money. Sustainable programmes of provision incur set up costs. This can pose small schools difficulties when planning for small numbers of eligible pupils especially where a member of staff needs to be employed to meet a very specific need. Another consideration is the number of eligible pupils who do not require ‘closing the gap’ provision because their attainment is similar to other pupils in the class and nationally.
Stisted has a lower than average deprivation factor with many children from relatively well off and educated home backgrounds.
The progress and attainment of Pupil Premium or disadvantaged children are monitored in the same way as all pupils but are reported on separately by the leadership team to ensure they are making good or better progress relative to their peers but also taking into account their starting points and cognitive ability.