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 is allocated to schools for children of statutory school age from low-income families who have been eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) at any point in the last 6 years in both mainstream and non-mainstream settings; to children who have been looked after continuously for more than six months; to children adopted from care and to children whose parents are currently serving in the armed forces.
Schools are free to spend the Pupil Premium as they see fit. However they will be held accountable for how they have used the additional funding to support pupils from low-income families.
At St Peters until September 2015 the pupil premium grant was used to support the small class sizes (the current qualified teacher to pupil ratio is only 1:19) which enabled those children from less advantaged backgrounds to have more teacher time and attention and therefore make accelerated progress. In addition to this it was used to provide individual support for wider learning opportunities such as paying for trips and residential visits.
However, after an analysis of progress being made by the pupil premium children in October 2015 it became apparent that this wasn’t having the impact that was necessary. The Headteacher met with many of the pupil premium families and children to begin to identify the individual elements that could be affecting progress. In November 2015 1:1 tutoring was put in place after school, the impact of which us still being analysed.
In February 2016 we undertook a study that focussed upon the most common barriers to learning. Each class teacher analysed possible reasons for barriers to learning. We then compiled a profile for each child and ascertained the areas of highest need. This allowed us to target particular interventions and assessments that would enable us to track progress in these areas.
Our intentions are to increase the percentage of Pupil Premium children making the accelerated progress necessary to narrow the attainment gap with their peers.
The evaluation of the action research project seemed to show that where we can enthuse children and provide them with a love of learning they will make accelerated progress. Starting September 16 St Peters will continue to address the individual needs of PP children by offering personalised learning opportunities, for example 1:1 tuition, instrumental lessons, extra sport and support with the cost of trips.
Our Pupil Premium allocation was £34,570 for the academic year 2016-17 and is expected to be £31,952 for the current academic year.