The Government believes that the Pupil Premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals (FSM) and their wealthier peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.
Two-thirds of pupils receive Free School Meals (FSM), a consistently very high number which means school has always adopted a compensatory approach geared towards ensuring pupils are supported in a range of ways in order to gain the depth and breadth of experiences that young people may take for granted in other areas.
Whether they qualify for FSM or not, the overwhelming majority of our pupils:
- are socially and educationally disadvantaged and vulnerable;
- lack self-esteem and confidence and as learners;
- have a history of disrupted education;
- have achievement and attendance levels that compare unfavourably to the national average upon entry to our school.
In addition to the pervasive nature of the issues described above, all pupils are supported by a Statement of Special Educational Need (SEND) or Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) for social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, with a majority having additional categories of needs, including moderate leaning difficulties.
The new SEND Code of Practice argues that ‘…. a pupil with SEN where their learning difficulty or disability calls for special educational provision, namely provision different from or additional to that normally available to pupils of the same age. Making higher quality teaching normally available to the whole class is likely to mean that fewer pupils will require such support. Such improvements in whole-class provision tend to be more cost effective and sustainable.
All pupils are therefore challenged in accessing and then sustaining opportunities for success in a range of endeavours appropriate to their individual needs.
Whilst we recognise that best practice highlighted by OFSTED suggests that PP money should generally be targeted exclusively at disadvantaged pupils, we believe the complexity of needs for all our pupils combined with the significant majority entitled to FSM validates our approach of making most of our interventions universally available. This approach also describes generally accepted SEND best practice that the most effective interventions target all pupils, not just those with additional needs.
The Pupil Premium is allocated directly to the school and the school is afforded the autonomy to decide how it is best spent.
Please find our statement of pupil premium strategy here – Pupil Premium 2016 / 2017