How Premium Funding is used at Pear Tree Specialist school to narrow the gap
Extensive research has proven that children from poorer backgrounds do less well than their peers academically and this impacts upon further educational and employment opportunities. For this reason, the Government have ploughed into schools the Pupil Premium Funding for those pupils who currently receive free school meals and those who have previously received free school meals within the last 6 years (Ever 6 pupils), Service children and children looked after. It is intended that this funding will enable schools to narrow the gap by putting into place targeted interventions.
More recently, the Government launched the Year 7 Catch-up Funding which is allocated to all year 7 pupils who did not achieve a Level 4 in Literacy and/or Numeracy at the end of Year 6 SATS. Funding is intended to enable schools to boost Literacy and Numeracy for this target group and accelerate progress to narrow the gap on attainment as quickly as possible.
In addition to Pupil Premium and Year 7 Catch-up, the School Sports Premium has been launched this academic year for all primary aged pupils. The ultimate aim is to, very simply, improve the provision and accessibility of PE and sporting activities for all.
So what does this funding mean for our pupils at Pear tree School? It is quite obvious that there is a gap between our pupils and their mainstream peers but with the best will in the world, innovative and well targeted interventions are not going to close that attainment gap. However, that does not mean that we can use our pupils’ SEN as an excuse and ignore the premium funding and spend it as just another pot of the whole school budget. It actually means that we have to work that much harder to identify what the gaps are for our children and young people, ensuring that our young people and their families are fully prepared for life beyond Pear Tree.
Premium funding does not have to be spent on an individual level and in fact research has proven that whole school interventions actually have a powerful impact on pupil progress. As an outstanding school, we go to great lengths to ensure that where there are potential gaps to learning and achievement, we put in well targeted and successful interventions; nothing is left to chance.
As a school, we have identified the 5 main barriers to our pupils’ learning and progress:
- Low aspirations
- Mental health
- Parental engagement
By identifying at a whole school level what we do to narrow each of these gaps and remove the potential barriers, we can successfully and creatively direct our funding appropriately to close the gap for our pupils and young people.
What needs to be emphasised is that the needs of our pupils and young people are highly individual and ever changing and, as such, so are the barriers to their learning and achievement. What worked one year might not be the best use of funding the next and so as a senior leadership team and governing body, we are constantly reflecting and analysing our provision to ensure that we are getting it right and that together we are moving forward and achieving the best we can in everything we do.
Please click here to find out more about the identified interventions at a whole school level that we have put in place to ensure we narrow the gap for all of our vulnerable children and young people.