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Enhancing the progress of Pupil Premium students.

A slightly different voice/style this week. I could talk about Pupil Premium and the impact of poverty and deprivation for days. I wrote my Masters dissertation on the subject. Here, I have tried to summarise for you what the Pupil Premium is, why we need to know about it and strategies that you can use to enhance the progress of students who receive Pupil Premium funding.

What is the Pupil Premium?

The pupil premium is additional funding given to publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.

Pupil premium funding is available to both mainstream and non-mainstream schools, such as special schools and pupil referral units.

Who are "disadvantaged pupils"?

All children eligible for free school meals at any point in the past 6 years

From September 2014:

  • have been looked after for 1 day or more

  • are adopted

  • leave care under a Special Guardianship Order or a Residence Order

  • Children from families in the Armed Forces

The pupil premium is paid to schools as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need. Ofsted inspections report on how schools’ use of the funding affects the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. Ofsted also hold schools to account through performance tables, which include data on:

  • the attainment of the pupils who attract the funding

  • the progress made by these pupils

  • the gap in attainment between disadvantaged pupils and their peers

22% of boys and 15% of girls eligible for free school meals do not achieve five GCSE passes, almost three times the proportion for boy and girls not eligible (Parekh, MacInnes and Kenway (2010))

This is not just an English and Maths issues – it affects all subject areas.

What can be done?

We all need, ensure that there are high expectations for all. High expectations for all means high expectations for disadvantaged pupils. Good provision and outcomes are key contributory factors to good overall effectiveness.

Next, a "no excuses" approach needs to be taken:

‘My school is in an area of high deprivation, so we have a lot of children eligible for FSM – but how can we raise attainment when there are so many?’

‘We only have a very small group of pupils eligible for the pupil premium in my school, so it’s not an issue for us.’

‘It’s not just that they’re entitled to free school meals, but they have so many other needs, not to mention the difficulties that the children in care have.’

There are often many challenges faced by Pupil Premium students, and their needs are complex - particularly when a Pupil Premium child also falls into another category such as SEND. To ignore the issue is to do a disservice to the students themselves.

Common strengths in most effective support for disadvantaged pupils include…

  • leaders at all levels, including governors, prioritising the achievement of disadvantaged pupils.

  • valuing pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare needs and not using them as excuses for low achievement

  • strategic planning at points of transition having high impact on outcomes and destinations.

Strategies teachers can use in their lessons to enhance the progress of PPG students.

  • Make Pupil Premium Students a Priority: Prioritise Pupil Premium students in any activity that you believe is particularly likely to improve students’ commitment, interest or progress: e.g. Use of IT or other special facilities

  • Put Pupil PremiumStudents First: Visit Pupil Premium students first in lessons to guarantee they get your attention.

  • Raising the Status: Where possible, give Pupil Premium students high status, challenging roles in group tasks: e.g. chair, summariser, envoy, class secretary.

  • Seating Plans: Identify Pupil Premium students on any seating plan so as to remind yourself who and where they are. Make sure that Pupil Premium students sit where you can easily get to them.

  • Marking: Mark Pupil Premium students’ work first and/or more often. Mark Pupil Premium students’ homework almost as soon as it is handed in. Make this a priority.

  • Meaningful Learning Conversations: Schedule into lessons occasional, more formal ‘learning conversations’ with Pupil Premium students, and record and act on the outcomes of such conversations.

  • Be Inspiring: Deliberately design some lessons to inspire students without worrying too much about whether the lesson will guarantee progress in the short-term.

  • Differentiate for all: Plan differentiation to support student engagement as well as to support low attainers

  • Sources of Support: Explicitly direct Pupil Premium students to free on line sources of support for the current topic, or for revision.

  • Setting Homework: Take extra care over how you set homework: ask students (particularly Pupil Premium students) to decide when and where they will do their homework. Get them to visualise themselves doing the homework. Ask students to anticipate what might get in the way of homework, and help them to plan how to evade these ‘homework blocks’. Ensure that Pupil Premium students have sources of support for their homework. At the very least, for example, publish details of the homework task and key supporting resources on any online platforms used at your school.

  • Access to Revision Materials: Make absolutely sure that Pupil Premium students have got copies of past papers and revision materials. Check periodically that they still have them, and replace them if these key materials have gone astray. Talk to the Pupil Premium students about when and where they will use the materials.

  • Intervention Maps: Find out if any of your Pupil Premium students are getting extra help during the week - for example in maths or English. Deliberately design in opportunities for Pupil Premium students to practise and apply those skills in your lessons. Prompt them to do so.

  • Use Peer Tutors: Set up peer tutoring of younger students, making use of Pupil Premium students as peer tutors. You could, for example, see if it would be possible to arrange for a Y10 Pupil Premium student to work with a child in your Y7 class, particularly in relation to maths or reading.

  • Market Research: Ask Pupil Premium students’ other teachers about techniques that are particularly effective in maintaining those students’ engagement and progress.


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