The Pupil Premium

 

The Pupil Premium accounts for over 6% of our total income and must be invested in students eligible for the Pupil Premium.

What is the rationale behind our Pupil Premium spending?

 

Colmers School and Sixth Form College is committed to securing great outcomes for every student. We recognise the unique individual strengths and weaknesses of our students and tailor our support to the specific challenges faced by some of our young people. We also face the uncomfortable fact that students at Colmers who are eligible for the Pupil Premium make the least progress during their time at Colmers. They are also significantly more likely to misbehave, be absent and be late for school. We know that some schools have successfully closed the gap in attainment, progress, attendance and behaviour for their most disadvantaged students and we are absolutely determined we will become one such school.

The Pupil Premium grant is significant and we have identified six key areas we wish to see improve as a result of our investment. We are looking for year on year improvements not only in outcome measures for our disadvantaged students, but also in the gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged. These six areas are:

  • Improved attainment and progress
  • Improved attendance and punctuality
  • Improved behaviour
  • Increased representation and opportunity in enrichment activities
  • Increased parental involvement
  • Increased take-up of Level 3 pathways post-16

Our Pupil Premium Strategy captures the key areas of activity we are focusing on in order to flip the correlation between underachievement and eligibility for the Pupil Premium at Colmers. Our plans are informed by best practice from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) toolkit, collaboration with local schools to share best practice and engagement in local school improvement projects such as the Birmingham Education Partnership RADY and Jumpstart programmes.

Our journey to date and our current approach to securing improved outcomes for disadvantaged students is set out below using the NFER ‘seven building blocks of success’. Beneath is a summary of both the impact of our Pupil Premium Strategy and how we invest our Pupil Premium grant.

 

1. An ethos of attainment for all pupils

Since September 2013, Colmers has adopted an approach to progress tracking that enables us to monitor every student against the progress we would expect based on their Key Stage 2 SATS results. This year, we have adopted an approach to setting highly ambitious stretch targets for every student at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, informed by Fischer Family Trust benchmark

data. Monitoring of progress within a 4-season cycle enables us to pay particular attention to progress of disadvantaged students and any other groups that appear to be falling behind their peers, for example our boys. Our approach to assessment at seasonal mid-points, along with the very prominent use of data within every classroom to inform planning, enables every teacher to be aware of gaps in progress for disadvantaged students. We adopt a whole school approach to waves of intervention that are designed to ‘kick-in’ when a student’s progress is at risk. These changes are reflected in the way we report to parents and carers, how teachers’ performance management is organised and how we measure success at this school.

 

2. An individualised approach to addressing barriers to learning and emotional support at an early stage

Colmers places a very high emphasis on early and effective transition of students from Years 6 to Year 7 alongside our partner primary schools. This enables us to establish at an early stage any behavioural, academic, social and emotional barriers to high levels of achievement, attendance and punctuality, through our “BASE” approach. As students’ barriers emerge or manifest we are able to apply similar remedies to try and ensure each child gets back on track and overcome their own individual barriers.

 

3. A focus on high quality teaching

Colmers’ Pupil Premium strategy rests on an unrelenting demand for high quality teaching and learning at all times for all students. All staff are informed and aware of gaps in attainment, progress and attendance for Pupil Premium students, enabling seating plans, lesson planning and pastoral support to be fully “Pupil Premium Aware”. Our quality assurance programme, which includes learning walks and walkthroughs, lesson observations, work scrutiny and data analysis maintains outcomes for Pupil Premium students as a high profile mission for every member of staff in the school. Teachers’ performance management expectations make explicit our mission to improve outcomes and close gaps for our Pupil Premium students through high quality teaching.

 

4. A focus on outcomes for individual students

The shift away from broad-brush goals for large cohorts of children has now disappeared at Colmers. Instead, every student works towards their own personal goals. All students access a broad curriculum offer that maximises positive options choices at Key Stage 4. Every teacher is accountable for the progress made by every student in their class and must be able to demonstrate the additional interventions and differentiation they apply when the progress is at risk. Where a student’s progress remains stubbornly stuck, Subject Leaders become directly involved to analyse and evaluate the causes of underachievement and adopt new or refined interventions. Staff at Colmers go the extra mile for individuals facing particular challenges and a layered approach to additional support and intervention means that students facing specific barriers will receive individualised support to improve their outcomes.

 

5. Deployment of the best staff to support disadvantaged pupils – developing the skills of existing teachers and TAs

Colmers is very aware that there are numerous occasions when students, in spite of great teaching and learning, do not make progress and are at risk of underachievement. Our BASE camp approach enables us to explore the behavioural, academic, social or emotional cause of a

student’s unwillingness or inability to fully engage in the life and learning at Colmers. To maximise the possibility of helping a student to make maximum progress, we employ and deploy specialist associate staff. The behavioural inclusion team comprises the Heads Year and our Pastoral Support Workers. The academic inclusion team comprises the school’s SENDCo and a team of specialist TAs with a focus on autism, dyslexia, literacy, numeracy and speech and language. The social and emotional inclusion team includes our Family Support Workers, our Renaissance Centre staff, Higher Level TAs and our commissioned counselling service, Place to Be. Whilst our Inclusion services are of course open to all students, each team works overwhelmingly with students who are eligible for the Pupil Premium.

 

6. Decision-making based on data and frequent monitoring

Colmers has embedded early intervention with our most vulnerable students. We gather comprehensive information during the Years 6 into 7 transition process as well as live ‘data’ through our day-to-day interactions with our students. We are on a journey to use data more effectively to inform our decisions and understand the impact of our actions. For example:

  • Students eligible for the Pupil Premium are very significantly over-represented with respect to behavioural, social and emotional difficulties or barriers. This is why we allocate our Pupil Premium funding to establish specialist inclusion teams in those areas so that we can try to help each child overcome their own particular barrier to learning.
  • Catch-up interventions in Years 7, 9 and 11 are in place to address existing gaps in literacy and numeracy skills in order to close the evident gaps in attainment and progress for disadvantaged students.
  • Attendance remains a stubborn and persistent challenge at Colmers. The gap between the attendance of students eligible for the Pupil Premium (currently Inadequate) and the attendance of all other students is a long-standing feature of our data and one we continue to tackle with vigour and creativity. We continue to refine how we diagnose and more vigorously challenge the underlying causes of persistent absence and as ever consider the particular complexity of more effectively engage with families where this issue is an ongoing challenge.

 

7. Clear, responsive leadership, with high aspirations

Colmers has a long history of responding to needs of the community we serve in the context of a fast0changing education landscape and a fragile local socio-economic context. Transition to the leadership of the new Headteacher appointed in September 2018 has maintained the strong tradition of setting the highest standards and aspirations for and with our children and families. Weekly whole school assemblies promote a culture of high aspirations and high expectations amongst the parents, carers, students and staff at the school. Our school is characterised by a team of committed teaching and associate staff whose loyalty and drive to achieve the best for our young people is tangible every day. We are a school that is determined to improve outcomes without becoming an exam factory, staying true to our fundamental belief that through education the whole child: we do this by providing an outstanding enrichment offer to complement the delivery and impact of a curriculum that will develop our students’ knowledge, skills and understanding and enable them to achieve the best possible academic outcomes.

 

How do we spend our Pupil Premium funding?

 

We shall review the impact of our 2017/18 Pupil Premium grant in December 2018.

 

Pupil Premium Strategy TBC