At Churchfields, the Village School, we firmly believe that pupils learn and achieve well through receiving quality teaching from highly trained staff, and this is why we invest so heavily in staff training and school improvement. It is our belief that the Pupil Premium supplements the good work we carry out every day at school but does not replace the high standards we set for ourselves to ensure we provide the highest quality education for all our pupils.
In order to secure the progress of children who may be disadvantaged, the government allocates finances to all schools called the ‘Pupil Premium’. Each child in receipt of free school meals receives £1,345 (from April 2020) within the school budget, and this money must be spent to provide additional resources, services and support for these pupils so that they can achieve their potential.
It is essential that this money is diligently spent to ensure our children get the most from it. Consequently, we use our intimate knowledge of our pupils and families to determine the strategies we employ to secure excellent value for money through the largest impact.
Barriers to learning for children at Churchfields in receipt of the Pupil Premium are listed below alongside how the school seeks to overcome these:
Families in receipt of free school meals may find it difficult to fund first-hand experiences for their children, which are often expensive. So some of the funding we receive is used to provide these pupils with experiences that help support their development, skills and knowledge that they would otherwise lack. Exactly how these experiences are decided on is determined through our thorough knowledge and assessment of our children.
Parents obviously spend much more time with their children than the staff do at school! They play a pivotal role in their education, so to support parents with nurturing their children through their school years, we offer support classes and workshops, run by outside providers, that are funded through our Pupil Premium budget.
Modern technology has huge educational value for children if it’s used correctly. Among a multitude of other uses, it allows pupils access to the internet, which is a rich source of information, and can help with homework and the development of a range of skills and knowledge. Most of our pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium do not have access to this technology outside of the school day, so for this reason, part of our spending of the Pupil Premium goes on getting technology into their hands.
We are very proud of the extra-curricular clubs we run at Churchfields. We have a comprehensive selection that includes clubs run by teachers in their own time for free, as well as those from external providers, who charge a nominal fee. Children in receipt of Pupil Premium are funded via the school to attend a paid club in addition to any free club(s) they may choose. This gives our pupils the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the school day all-year round.
Some of our pupils in receipt of the Pupil Premium have also been identified as having Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND). In order to ensure these children receive the best support possible to overcome their difficulties and make progress in line with other pupils, we employ a skilled SENDCo to lead this critical area of education within our school. Mrs Liddiard attends regular training to ensure she is fully up to date with new initiatives. A proportion of Mrs Liddiard’s time, linked to the number of Pupil Premium children who have SEN, is funded through our Pupil Premium budget.
In order to support learning, quality resources are required. Access to these provides stimulation and motivation to our pupils to help secure their progress through the school.
We often employ qualified teachers to work with some of our children in receipt of the Pupil Premium. These teachers work under the direction of the children’s class teacher in very small groups, or individually, to plug any gaps in learning or introduce material that is to be covered in subsequent daily lessons. The progress of pupils in receipt of this teaching is closely monitored by both the intervention teacher and the classteacher to determine its effectiveness and make any necessary changes.
Teaching assistants are employed by the school to support both the pupils and the staff. They are an important part of the school and work very closely with the teaching staff. Their role in school is wide, and encompasses children in receipt of Pupil Premium – both collectively with other pupils and individually. Similarly to intervention teachers, our teaching assistants deliver specific learning programmes devised by qualified teachers in the school, and the impact of this work is closely monitored.
We have established a Nurture Room within the school which allows children to learn social skills and explore theirs and others’ feelings in a secure, nurturing and stimulating environment. The on-going development of this strategy includes the appropriate recruitment, training and deployment of skilled staff, who are able to deliver specialist support – such as Play Therapy and ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) work. We have a qualified ELSA on staff and have secured training in 2021/22 for another member of staff, to strengthen this important provision.
We closely monitor the impact of our on-going work every term to ensure our spending of the Pupil Premium grant is having a positive effect on pupils’ life chances. This is carried out through talking with pupils, analysing their work and any test results and speaking with staff & parents. We occasionally carry out ‘case studies’ of pupils to drill deeply into their progress over time as a result of key factors such as any additional school support they receive. Our rigorous evaluations determine how to proceed with further support.
Class teachers additionally assess pupils in reading, writing, speaking & listening, grammar punctuation & spelling, maths and science three times per year and meet with the headteacher as frequently to hold professional discussions on how pupils can be further supported to achieve.
Our personalised approach has shown significant benefits to pupils who often make accelerated progress to reach their potential.