What is the Pupil Premium?
The Pupil Premium is a grant given to schools to help them close the attainment gap that exists between advantaged and disadvantaged children. It was launched by the coalition government in April 2011 in a major effort to address the growing body of evidence showing that children from disadvantaged backgrounds generally face extra challenges in reaching their potential in school, and often don’t perform as well academically as their peers. Children who are entitled to Pupil Premium often face challenges such as poor language and communication skills, lack of confidence and issues with attendance and punctuality. The Pupil Premium is intended to directly benefit the children who are eligible, helping to narrow the attainment gap between them and their classmates by tackling the barriers that inhibit success in school. It is important to understand that the Pupil Premium is not based on ability. Research shows that the most academically able pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are more at risk of under-performing than their peers, with the gap widening as they get older.
Who is eligible?
Our Pupil Premium funding is based on the number of looked after children (LAC) and children who receive Free School Meals (FSM) on roll with us when the annual census is taken in October of each year.
Free school meals: We get £1,345 for every primary age pupil who claims free school meals, or who has claimed free school meals in the last 6 years. You can claim free school meals if you receive any of the following support:
- Universal credit (provided you have a net income of £7400 or less)
- Income support
- Income-based jobseekers’ allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- The guaranteed element of state pension credit
- Child tax credit, provided that you are not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of £16,190 or less
Looked after and previously looked after children: We get £2,345 for every pupil who has left local authority care through adoption, a special guardianship order or child arrangements order. Local authorities get the same amount for each child they are looking after. They must work with us to decide how the money is used to support the child’s personal education plan.
We are responsible for recording the children who are eligible for Pupil Premium in our annual school census. You don’t have to do anything yourself other than making sure you return any paperwork that relates to the benefits you receive or your child’s entitlement to free school meals.
The Pupil Premium at Wensum Junior School
In October 2020 we had 79 children on roll who were eligible for Pupil Premium funding. This is 38% of the school cohort (compared with a national average of 28%). This will bring in a total of £123,740.00 for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. It is important to realise that while the funding is based on the number of eligible children, it is not a personal bursary. It is up to school leaders to decide how best to spend the Pupil Premium. This is because we are best placed to assess a pupil’s needs and use the additional funding to improve attainment.
A tiered approach at Wensum Junior School
The quality of teaching and learning is good and improving. Teachers plan learning activities that enable pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, to make good progress in reading, writing and across the school’s wider curriculum – OFSTED, 2018
We have adopted a tiered approach, targeting our spending across three areas: Quality First Teaching, targeted academic support, and wider approaches.
- Quality First Teaching: While some children eligible for Pupil Premium funding might be receiving targeted support (see below), all children benefit from high quality teaching in the classroom. Indeed, research shows that excellent classroom provision has a particularly positive benefit for disadvantaged children. The bulk of our Pupil Premium funding is therefore targeted at ensuring a high quality classroom experience for all our children. This includes providing an on-going programme of high quality training for teachers and generous funding for our rich curriculum offer.
Leaders have developed a rich, innovative curriculum that fire’s pupils’ imagination and inspires them to learn. OFSTED, 2018
- Targeted academic support: We deploy a range of targeted support to meet the academic and pastoral needs of our children and their families. Based on on-going teacher assessment overseen by our SENDCo, and, where necessary, in conversation with families, this can include individual and small group interventions; bespoke in-class support, work with educational professionals and much more besides. We also use Pupil Premium to fund Pokemon class, our alternative provision.
- Wider approaches: It is here that we aim to tackle a wide range of non-academic issues that often create significant barriers to success in school. Our dedicated pastoral and family support staff, partially funded through the Pupil Premium, work with senior leaders, families and external agencies to address issues around attendance, behaviour and social and emotional support. They also work closely with Children’s Services, the LEA and a wide range of professionals across the city to ensure that those that need it get the support they deserve. In addition to this we also use the money to fund:
- Our daily breakfast club
- Music provision for all children in-class, and for those attending our school orchestra
- Educational and residential trips and visits
Monitoring the impact of the Pupil Premium at Wensum Junior School
Measuring the impact of Pupil Premium funding takes many forms. Academic progress is routinely monitored through termly pupil progress meetings, with feedback to families provided via the scheduled Parent Teacher meetings as well as through a range of more informal meetings in school. A range of approaches are adopted to measure the impact of interventions around social and emotional support. Thrive profiles are regularly updated by class teachers reflecting gains made through whole class and bespoke interventions. Attendance is monitored in partnership with Norfolk Council Council / LEA. If you have any questions around Pupil Premium funding please contact the school office and arrange a time to speak with a member of the senior leadership team.