The Pupil Premium grant was introduced in April 2011 and paid to local authorities by means of a specific grant, based on the January 2011 school census figures. This grant is for pupils registered as eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) from Reception class to Year 11. The grant was also used to support Looked After Children - that is children in the care of Local Authorities who are being educated in the state system.
In the 2012/13 academic year, government subsequently decided that eligibility for the Pupil Premium should be extended to pupils who have been eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) at any point in the past 6 years. This was as a result of research which showed that, as a group, children who have been eligible for FSM at any point in time have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible for FSM.
While there is no prescribed formula for applying the Pupil Premium Grant, schools are required to publish how they have employed the funding to improve the attainment of eligible children and close the gap between FSM children and their peers.
Overview of the PPG use in St. Monica's Catholic Primary School
In our school, the PPG provides additional funds to enable us implement additional support required for children on FSM, children looked after by the Local Authority and/or children whose parents are in the armed forces. This additional support is targeted to ensure that eligible children receive appropriate intervention which improve their learning and attainment, and ultimately their life chances.
Research has proved that good teaching is one of the best resources for improved attainment. We therefore allocate a greater proportion of the total school budget to teaching and teaching support resources to provide Quality First teaching, continued professional development and teachers' problem-solving skills. Targeted intervention resources like Supported Reading, 1:1 tuition, increased specialist support training for teaching assistants (TAs) and general curriculum resources are regularly monitored, reviewed and improved.
Research has also shown that supplementary activities which enrich pupils' life experiences, improve their confidence, engagement, communication skills and behaviour. We actively promote activities like theatre visits, ice skating, sporting, arts, music projects and other visits to provide life-enriching and memorable learning experiences.
Attendance, punctuality and general well-being also significantly affect pupil behaviour and attainment. Our School/Home Link worker works collaboratively with our bought-in Parent Support services to support and advise parents on various issues, with the ultimate objective of improving the overall wellness of our pupils.
Senior members of staff regularly monitor attainment and assessment records to ascertain the impact of various intervention methods. In addition to ongoing assessments to determine the impact and appropriateness of intervention, detailed evaluation of impact is carried out at the end of each year. The annual evaluation focuses on attendance; academic gains; attainment levels and progression; and how pupil behaviour and self-confidence has developed as a result of the intervention.
Our school has maintained an Outstanding level of attendance and we continue to monitor and address the tiny number of persistent lateness within the school. Similarly, our overall attainment levels continue to rise as we strive to close the gap between the various social mix of children in our school.