ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton has said that schools face 'severe cuts' whilst still being expected to be an 'unofficial fourth emergency service for poor and vulnerable children.' But what can teacher and senior leaders do to make best use of the limited pupil premium funds that are available?
Ofsted has published a report on how some schools are using pupil premium funding effectively to maximise achievement. The report draws together effective practice seen by inspectors, including case studies on how schools have used the funding.
In a section on minimising barriers to achievement, the report says: 'Where schools had successfully begun to narrow the gaps in achievement between pupils who are eligible for the pupil premium and their peers they had often thought carefully about what barriers to learning pupils were experiencing.'
Our associate expect Jonathan Gower says that these education barriers tend to include:
- Special educational needs (SEN)
- Low attainment in a core subject not letting them access the rest of the curriculum
- Confidence and resilience
- Parental aspirations
- Not doing homework
Jonathan says that teachers could rate pupils eligible for the pupil premium in their classes as 'red', 'amber' or 'green' against these barriers and then plan what support would benefit these pupils.
This should be linked to the school's use of pupil premium funding, and may come under whole-school strategies for using the pupil premium, such as reading, writing and maths interventions.
However, he said there are barriers to achievement that individual teachers may be able to address. For example, a teacher could meet with the parents of a pupil who does not do his/her homework or for whom parental aspirations appear to be a barrier to achievement. This meeting would be used to build a rapport with the parents and try to find out what their hopes are for their child.
If attendance is a problem, a class teacher could have a meeting with parents about this and explain why it is important that their child comes to school.
Members of The Key for School Leaders can access a range of resources on the effective use of The Pupil Premium at www.thekeysupport.com