The Pupil Premium
The pupil premium was introduced by the Coalition government in April 2011 to provide additional funding for disadvantaged pupils. The premium was introduced because disadvantaged students tend to perform (attainment) below the level of “other” (non disadvantaged) students.
A pupil will be defined as disadvantaged if they are:
Eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) or have been at any point in the last six years; or
Looked after continuously for 1 day or more; or
Adopted from care
What is the premium?
The amount provided by the government for disadvantaged pupils has grown over the years to total:
£1,320 per primary pupil (2015/16)
£935 for secondary pupils
Schools also receive £1,900 for pupils who have been in care but are now adopted or left care under certain guardianship orders. A separate grant of £300 is paid to schools to enable them to support the emotional and social well-being of service children.
Thomas Deacon (Primary and Secondary) = £528,254
The Pupil Premium is for disadvantaged students; its allocation has no relation to a pupils’ ability or prior attainment.
School accountability for the Pupil Premium
The pupil premium is paid to schools as they are best placed to assess what additional provision their pupils need and therefore what the funding might best be used for.
Ofsted inspections (Government’s method of assessing the performance of a school) report on how the schools’ use of the funding affects the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils with particular focus toward;
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; referred to as “others”
The “gap” that is referred to is the difference between the results of a school’s disadvantaged students and non-disadvantaged students (others) at GCSE level (attainment in year 11).
At Thomas Deacon Academy, whilst we appreciate the importance of examination success, our focus is also concerned with developing confident and resilient youngsters who feel assured in everything that they do. We believe that if our disadvantaged students are good learners then the results will come!
Our approach to Pupil Premium
Thomas Deacon Academy is committed to the educational success and achievement of all of our learners and we recognise that some students may need additional resources and interventions to help them achieve their personal goals and ambitions. The essential point is to ensure that disadvantaged status does not hinder the potential of our students’ to achieve.
Initiatives aimed at Pupil Premium students 2015 /16
Of course, when you are aiming at improving student’s abilities to learn, you find that some practices work better than others; Appendix 1: Cost and Planning Document for Release of Pupil Premium Funding 2015-2016 (found as a separate sheet at the end of the section) shows all the initiatives that we implemented in 2015/16 and their associated costs.
This year (2016/17) we will continue to offer and improve those initiatives that we know have worked for our students and search to add others that we feel will make life even better for our disadvantaged students. The list below details our planned initiatives:
Pupil Premium Initiatives 2015/16
Harmony Camp – The summer holidays in 2015 saw the Academy host a Harmony Camp aimed primarily at pupil premium students that were making the transition from Primary schools into the Academy. The Summer Harmony Camp was attended by 43 students and was aimed at problem solving and building confidence amongst the group.
Book Buddies programme – the “Book Buddies “programme is a paired reading programme that unites older students with our year 7, 8 and 9 students that need a little 1:1 help with their reading skills. We have two groups of approximately 50 students that will work with our sixth form “buddies” over the course of the year. This scheme was first introduced in 2014/15 and recorded very positive results for our students.
Parent Reading Groups – Reading Café – we are always looking to improve upon our practice and this year we will work closer with the parents, friends and relatives of our readers (Reading Buddies Programme) to ensure that they can help our readers to read more at home and gain additional support to that which we can only offer in school. The Reading Café will train external reading buddies how to read with the students and give them an insight to the huge difference that reading makes to our disadvantaged students.
Year 10 and 11 reading initiative – a reading programme aimed at our KS4 students’ ability to access and understand the demands of the language of GCSE examination questions.
£50 funding for school materials - All of our disadvantaged students have £50 available to them in the school shop. The money is available for the students to buy key books and school equipment. The money is particularly useful to those students in year 11 who need revision guides for their GCSE ‘s and end of year 11 examinations.
Myself as a Learner Scale/ Self Esteem project –Another exciting development this year is a programme (Year 10) that is aimed at developing confidence in our learners and helping them to understand how they best learn. Depending on the success of this initiative we will look to introduce more of our disadvantaged students to the benefits of understanding themselves as learners and begin to build on the confidence that it will instil in them.
Training for staff - Research studies have shown that feedback has a particularly positive effect on disadvantaged students’ progress. Dedicated professional development time for all teaching staff has been devoted to exploring and increasing the use of strategies that have most significant impact on disadvantaged students.
Dedicated Pupil Premium Champions – The Academy employs the services of an external pupil premium consultant and has a senior leader who is responsible for the pupil premium and the progress of disadvantaged students. These roles are critical in ensuring that the pupil premium is directed appropriately and that the Academy is responsible for its actions.
Accounting for the Pupil Premium at Thomas Deacon Academy
It is very important for all schools to clearly and effectively account for their pupil premium and detail how the money has been used. For the first time in 2016 schools who cannot account effectively for the use of their pupil premium will be unable to gain an “outstanding” rating under the Ofsted criteria.
Appendix 1 is a detailed account of how the Academy allocated its pupil premium during the academic year 2015/16.