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 continuously for more than six months, and children of service personnel.
In the academic year 2014 – 2015 we were awarded £132,508. Currently, between 18 and 20% of our pupils attract this extra funding for the school and there are a number of projects that are paid for exclusively by this money.
Building on the success we have had in previous years, we now have 2 Jigsaw4U workers for one day per week. (These work with the children alone or in groups to support their self-esteem or social skills.) We have 2 teaching assistants who concentrate on small groups of children delivering basic skills in English and Maths. In addition to this one Teaching Assistant delivers a programme in Early Years to develop literacy skills for these young children.
We also have 2 experienced teachers who deliver specific maths and literacy on a 1:1 basis mainly, but also in small groups. The focused work of these teachers has had a significant impact upon the quality of learning and the progress made by individual and groups of children. For example, 41% of children who qualified for pupil premium at the end of Key Stage 2 in 2014 made 3 levels of progress between KS1 and KS2 in maths, which is significantly better than nationally expected levels. 50% of this group made 3 levels of progress in writing. Both of these figures are well above the national rates for 2013. Plans are in place to build on this successful provision in the coming year and to improve progress further, especially with maths and in KS1.
A number of our children who fall into this category are vulnerable and prefer to stay in at lunch time, so we facilitate this by staffing an indoor Chill Zone, where they can play quiet games away from the bustle of the playground.
All of these children are offered free breakfast club and playtime fruit tuck shop, as well as 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, who are now in school on time and ready to learn.
This year in addition to all of this we have taken on a TaMHS (Targeted Mental Health in School) worker fortnightly who work with children’s families. We have tried to ensure that many groups of children, who are disadvantaged in any way, feel the benefit of this extra money.
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.”
“It helped me to get much better at my writing and helped me to read difficult words. I can understand more now.”
“Working on my own with the teacher helped me to realise my mistakes and it helped a lot with my spellings.”
“If we get stuck we can ask lots of questions because we are in a small group.”
“If you are in a big group or a big class you sometimes don’t get a chance to work out and think about an answer. I like being in a small group.”
“She gave me lots of help when I was stuck. I feel happier about my maths now.”
“Every time I was really good at it. I got lots of house points. There were sums that I couldn’t do but now I can!”
“He does fun activities and we talk about my feelings. It helps me to feel better.”
“Since I started working with (the worker), I’ve made more friends and I’m happier in school.”
About Chill Zone:
“Chill zone is a calm place to be and there are lots of games to play.”
“We make friends and meet friends in there.”