The Pupil Premium is additional funding for publicly funded schools in England to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils of all abilities and to close the gaps between them and their peers.
It was introduced in April 2011 and is allocated to schools to work with pupils who have been registered for free school meals (FSM) at any point in the last six years. Looked after children and those of service personnel also attract funding.
Hetton School uses this additional funding to work to reduce outcome gaps between students that have disadvantages and others. The statement below (inspired by Sir Kevan Collins, as Chair of the EEF) outlines some of our beliefs and approaches to PP.
The attainment gap is the most stubborn test facing our school and the Pupil Premium gives additional public funding to us in order to close this gap. The idea that it can be solved simply by spending more is beguiling but unrealistic. If extra money is all the Pupil Premium is about, it is doomed to fail, particularly in a period of wider financial constraint. For us, the Pupil Premium represents much more. It 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.
Educational attainment is the best predictor that we have of a young person’s long-term outcomes. The Premium can act as a focal point as we plan and put in place the strategies that will help our students succeed. However, focus can also backfire, if it distorts our behaviour, or distracts us from things we were already doing well. We also believe that our role is to improve outcomes in the widest sense and so developing our student’s cultural capital is an area we will not step back from. For the toughest problems, there are no quick fixes. However, used with care and commitment, the Pupil Premium is one of the best bets we have.
1. We are making a difference
In the past few years the attainment gap at Hetton School has closed and the trend is very positive
2. We use an evidence-based approach
We compare how similar challenges have been tackled in other schools; understand the strength of evidence behind alternative approaches; and consider the likely cost-effectiveness of a range of approaches
3. We focus on good teaching
Good teaching is the most important lever we have to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. Using the Pupil Premium to improve teaching quality benefits all students and has a particularly positive effect on children eligible for the Pupil Premium. While the Pupil Premium is provided as a different grant from core funding, we ensure this financial split does not create an artificial separation from whole class teaching.
4. It is not just for students who have lower prior attainment
The causes and consequences of disadvantage are varied: Pupil Premium students are not a homogeneous group. Students eligible for the Pupil Premium are more likely to be low-attaining than other children. However, tackling disadvantage is not only about supporting low attainers. For example, disadvantaged students who achieve highly in primary school are much less likely than their peers to receive top grades at GCSE.
To view our Pupil Premium Strategy Statement, please click here