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Effective Pupil Premium Strategy and Free Templates

The following article sets out a number of recommendations that will ensure your PP funding will be allocated effectively.

Richard Morley  Richard Morley
October 2021

The following article sets out a number of recommendations that will ensure your PP funding will be allocated effectively. This in turn will enable the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students to be raised and the gap narrowed. You can also download these top tips with a corresponding working templates for free at the bottom of this page.

<Pupil Premium - the journey to success

As we all know, learning is a journey, and turning around the educational attainment of the most disadvantaged in our society is a longer journey than most.

To highlight this a report from the National Foundational for Educational Research (NFER) in 2015 contained four key findings:

  • Schools have used an average of 18 strategies to support disadvantaged pupils since the Pupil Premium was introduced in 2011. Greater success was associated with schools using fewer
  • The way schools implement their strategies is important. The research identified seven distinct ‘building blocks of success’;
  • Schools’ typical pathways to improvement take around three to five years;
  • Certain school characteristics have a strong relationship with disadvantaged pupils’ performance, but there is wide variation between similar schools

The findings from the research can be found in the; Department for Education – supporting the attainment of disadvantaged pupils Nov 2015 publication.

It was reassuring to read from a national body such as the NFER that effective improvement takes time. Contrary to the irrational expectations of so many politicians over the years, there is no quick fix and no magic wand in any field of educational endeavour – especially in turning around the fortunes of children whose families may have had generations of low achievement, unemployment and all the issues that accompany these background factors.

The use evidence of what works best with disadvantaged learners, notably the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit is often the first stop for school leaders. However, school leaders also have to remember that what works for one school, does not necessarily work in others.

There is no short-cut to analysing the barriers to learning experienced by your pupil premium learners and implementing successful strategies to help them overcome those barriers. With a duel focus on individual need and high quality teaching, the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students can be raised and the gap narrowed.

However, it won’t happen overnight.

Pupil Premium and the 10 point plan to success

What do the most successful schools look like?

Sir John Dunford, the former National Pupil Premium Champion, spent two years examining what works best after speaking to schools, addressing conferences and acting as a channel of communication between the Department for Education and schools. He noted that the most successful schools used a range of strategies that were targeted to the needs of individual pupils rather than sticking with one or two.

The ten steps in this plan are:

    • Set an ambition for what you want your school to achieve with PP funding
    • The process of decision-making on PP spending starts with an analysis of the barriers to learning for PP pupils
    • Decide on the desired outcomes of your PP spending
    • Against each desired outcome, identify success criteria
    • Evaluate the effectiveness and impact of your current PP strategies and change them if necessary
    • Research the evidence of what works best
    • Decide on the optimum range of strategies to be adopted
    • Staff training in depth
    • Monitor the progress of PP-eligible pupils frequently
    • Put an audit trail on the school website for PP spending

Ofsted checklist

How effectively schools implement pupil premium is now part of the accountability agenda and Ofsted inspectors will require schools to produce evidence of how pupils are progressing.

Schools need to:

    • Detail their pupil premium strategy on their website and give information about what they are doing to narrow the attainment gap
    • Give inspectors information about the level of pupil premium funding received by the school during the current and previous academic year
    • Details how the school has spent the funding and how it made its spending decisions
    • Demonstrate any differences made to the learning and progress of eligible pupils using outcomes data

The effectiveness of the school’s leadership and management will be judged on how well they use the funding, and measure the impact on pupil outcomes.

As part of their role, governors are expected to show that they have challenged the senior leadership team on the variations in achievement between different groups, and what they are doing to address these.

How effectively they have provided this challenge may ultimately affect what grade the inspectors give for leadership and management.

Inspectors can call for an external review of the school’s pupil premium spending if they identify specific issues relating to the provision and outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Our recommendations for PP funding

  • Use of funding should build on the key aims of the school development plan – should not be view as a separate activity
  • Funding should be used to support ALL disadvantaged pupils
  • Gifted and Talented pupils eligible for the Pupil Premium should receive similar levels of support
  • Effective communication with parents about the strategies that are being developed
  • There has to be clear identification of the specific needs of your school, your pupils and your community context
  • You have to accept when initiatives are not working and be prepared to implement the need for modification, whilst maintaining the core values of your school

 If you would like more answers to your Pupil Premium Questions, please check out our Pupil Premium FAQ which also includes a free exemplar.

Using the PP templates set up within the SchooliP software and available via the download below, alongside the recommendations set out above and those in the 10 step plan will ensure your PP funding will be allocated effectively. This in turn will enable the attainment and progress of disadvantaged students to be raised and the gap narrowed.

Like this insight? Check out our step-by-step guide for effective Raising Attainment Plans.

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