The Government believes that the Pupil Premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.
The Pupil Premium was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point in the last six years (known as ‘Ever 6 FSM’). There are other factors that are taken into account as well as FSM to determine whether a child is eligible to be included in the pupil premium figures for the school. These include children who have been looked after by the local authority continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel.
It is the duty of the school to ensure that this extra funding is used to benefit disadvantaged pupils and there are a number of projects, at Abbotsbury, that are paid for exclusively by this money. These projects include support for pupils to improve their mental health, well-being and confidence; access for disadvantaged pupils to a wide range of cultural experiences, visits and visitors; and extra staff, whose responsibility it is to work with individuals or groups in order to raise academic standards.
Building on the success we have had in previous years, we now have a Jigsaw4U worker, who works in school for two days per week. (This work is with the children alone or in groups to support their self-esteem or social skills.) We have a CAMHs-in-Schools worker, who works one day a week with children and families needing support. We also have 2 teaching assistants who concentrate on small groups of children delivering basic skills in English and Maths and running specific programmes of support. In addition to this one Teaching Assistant delivers a programme in Early Years to develop literacy skills for the youngest children.
We also have an experienced teacher who delivers specific literacy interventions on a 1:1 basis or in small groups as well as supporting in class. The focused work of this teacher has had a significant impact upon the quality of learning and the progress made by individuals and groups of children.
All of the children entitled to Pupil Premium funding are offered free breakfast club as well as individually arranged support with payment of residential trips or activity weeks.
Initiatives which target attendance and punctuality have also been funded by pupil premium money and these have had considerable impact upon individual and groups of children.
Please read on to see what the children have to say about the extra provision and opportunities offered.
About small group work and 1:1 tuition:
“Working in a little group helped me to feel more confident.”
“She supports us in lots of ways.”
“If we get stuck, we can ask lots of questions because we are in a small group.”
“If we get something wrong, the whole group supports us.”
“We get to do something really creative and it encourages me to read more.”
“She helps me to understand what I’m reading.”
“We get to talk about sad things that happen. It helps me to feel better.”
“I like the games. They’re fun.”
“When you tell her your problems, she listens and helps. It’s good to have someone to listen to you and she gives good advice.”