The Department for Education (DfE) provides additional funding, known as Pupil Premium, in order that specific groups of pupils aged between 5 and 16 years, who may be disadvantaged because of family circumstances, can be supported to achieve and make good progress.
The Pupil Premium is allocated to schools according to :
- The number of pupils who have been registered for free school meals at any point over the last six years
- The number of pupils who are or have recently been ‘looked after’
- The children of service personnel
Pupil Premium funding is extra to the school’s main funding. It is not allocated to individual pupils. Schools have the freedom to decide how it can best be spent on eligible pupils to maximise their learning.
Pupil Premium funding therefore aims to ‘close the gap’ as research demonstrates that across the country, pupils who fall into the three categories outlined above, achieve less well than their peers who are not disadvantaged in this way.
At St Ann’s, only students in Years 8 to 11 inclusive are eligible to receive Pupil Premium payments. Students in Years 7, 12, 13 and 14 do not receive Pupil Premium even if they are, or have been, in receipt of Free School Meals.
The amount of Pupil Premium allocation for 2018/2019 was £23,375 for 25 pupils (£935 per student). Following discussion the Curriculum and Pupil Progress Committee minutes dated 04.10.18 were as follows
– GC asked Committee to consider the 18-19 allocation and recommended that as dance is missing from the Creative Curriculum whether this input could be bought in with a focus on engaging Pupil Premium students and related to MAPP learning intentions. Committee recognised that dance is a ‘social equaliser’. Committee agreed that this should be the focus and GC explained how it could be implemented and noted that Pupil Premium is about narrowing the gap. KF asked whether the John Lyons Charity could be approached for additional financial support. Committee noted that John Lyons generally preferred to work with groups of schools but that other organisations could be approached eg Jack Petchey Foundation. Committee noted that Mencap are also a good source of ideas. Committee agreed in principle that the 2018-19 Pupil Premium allocation focus on the creative curriculum and specifically dance.
In reality it proved extremely difficult to identify a dance teacher who had the appropriate skills to work with our young people and a previously identified teacher who may have been available on a consultancy basis was on long term sick leave.
SLT therefore took the decision to allocate St Ann’s Pupil Premium funding to other essential aspects of the Creative Curriculum, some of which contained components of dance and movement. Please refer to table below. The focus for the Pupil Premium cohort was therefore on improving each young person’s communication and cognition skills through providing additional creative curriculum opportunities. This was measured through progress against each student’s personalised MAPP Learning Intentions. Progress is assessed and reported back to parents/carers on a termly basis, along with next steps in learning.
Allocation of Pupil Premium Grant 2018/2019 : £23,375
Analysis of MAPP Data 2018/2019 : Average Total Scores and Average Strand Scores.
This data indicates that a wide range of interventions, including St Ann’s strong focus on the Creative Curriculum is supporting Pupil Premium students to achieve well, as measured by their MAPP scores. In the academic year 2018/2019 students in receipt of Pupil Premium outperformed the whole school cohort, in terms of both their average scores and individual strand scores by a small margin.This was most pronounced in the Maintenance and Generalisation strands which are good indicators of ‘deep learning’ ie that students can demonstrate the focus skills over time and in a range of different settings and circumstances.
Analysis of progress against Communication and Cognition MAPP Learning Intentions
Given that we were most interested in the Pupil Premium cohort’s acquisition of core skills in communication and cognition, this table illustrates that Pupil Premium students again out performed the whole school cohort in both of these areas. This was most marked in the area of cognition, ie thinking and problem solving skills.
The creative curriculum provides many opportunities to motivate and engage St Ann’s students in learning. Very brief attention spans can be gradually extended and the student’s self esteem,resilience and confidence in themselves as active learners are seen to grow so that all students can ‘enjoy and achieve’.
The Education Endowment Foundation guide to the Pupil Premium (June 2019) states that,
‘The Pupil Premium provides funding, but also focus, setting the achievement of children from disadvantaged backgrounds as a priority for our system. This clarity is the Pupil Premium’s greatest strength’.
St Ann’s Pupil Premium Strategy is ‘narrowing the gap’, but school leaders are aware that there is no room for complacency, and much work remains to be done to ensure that all students and particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds, continue to be supported to, ‘be the best they can be and do the best that they can do’.