The Pupil Premium is additional funding allocated to publicly funded schools to address the inequalities between children from low income families who are eligible for free school meals (FSM) and those who are not. It is also allocated to Looked After Children (LAC). The primary aim is to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers.
The Government believes schools are best placed to decide how best to assess what additional provision is required for the individual pupils within their responsibility. The school, therefore, is given the autonomy to decide how to allocate this funding.
At Holy Cross, our ethos is founded on our pursuit of excellence and dignity for every child. We emphasise our commitment to allocating the Pupil Premium for the benefit of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils in our Mission Statement:
“We recognise and endeavour to serve the needs of all members of the school community – academic, spiritual, moral, social and physical. We acknowledge in particular the needs of those who are disadvantaged in any way.”
We recognise that not all pupils eligible for free school meals will be socially disadvantaged. Conversely, we also recognise that not all pupils who are socially disadvantaged are registered or qualify for free school meals. It is always our intention to allocate funding to any pupil or groups of pupils that we identify as being socially disadvantaged.
The literacy and numeracy catch-up premium gives schools additional funding to support Year 7 pupils who did not achieve the expected standard in reading or maths at the end of key stage 2 (KS2).
A pupil awarded a scaled score of 100 (a reading age of above 10 years) or more has met the expected standard in each test.
A pupil awarded a scaled score of 99 (a reading age of below 10 years) or less has not met the expected standard in the test.
At Holy Cross, we use this premium to provide strategies and interventions which are specifically aimed at pupils who require support in literacy and numeracy. A significant amount of the funding is spent on the Accelerated Reader programme. We also ensure that all pupils receive regular reading time in tutor time to encourage reading for pleasure. At least one tutor time is dedicated to reading each week and each tutor group is provided with a book box with a large selection of books to suit all reading ages. Furthermore, literacy and numeracy tutor activities are provided by the English and Maths department weekly to provide all pupils throughout the school with opportunities to develop their skills.
This year, we have invested in the transition programme to support improved attainment on entry and each of our feeder primaries have liaised with our lead teacher of English. Each Year 6 pupil received a reading book, ‘Sky Hawk’ that they read at the end of year, alongside a literacy pack of activities to complement the book. A scheme of learning based on the book has been developed which will be used with pupils in their first term of Year 7 to bridge the gap.
We have targeted intervention groups in which pupils work in small groups with learning support specialists to carry out a personalised curriculum. They are able to develop their knowledge of phonics, handwriting, spellings and they carry out a range of programmes including IDL, Read, Write, Inc, ‘Toe to Toe’, numeracy work out and ‘Power of 2’ which enable learners to develop their literacy and numeracy skills.
In 2017 to 2018 schools will receive the same overall amount of Year 7 catch-up premium funding they received in 2016 to 2017, adjusted to reflect the percentage change in the size of their year 7 cohort, based on the October 2017 census.
In 2016/17, Holy Cross received £10,500 in funding for the Year 7 Literacy and Numeracy Catch-Up. The money was predominantly spent on the Accelerated Reader programme and on resources for mathematics. Literacy and numeracy programmes commence in Year 7 and continue to the end of year 9 and beyond.
42 pupils started Year 7 with a scaled score of below 100 (a reading age of below 10 years) and these pupils were targeted by the catch up premium. As a result of the intervention provided, 93% of pupils made progress and 45% of these pupils made significant progress, increasing their reading age to above 10 years in order to meet the expected standard. The average reading age increase for each of the targeted pupils was 12 months. Across KS3, there is confirmation of improved reading as evidenced with the Accelerated Reading and Star Tests in which 80% of pupils have demonstrated progress with an average reader increase of 10 months.
The Accelerated Reader programme has also contributed to improved literacy across the school. We have invested heavily in our school library and increased the availability of library books, which has proved extremely popular. In 2016/17, 4532 books were loaned from the library, in comparison to 4663 books loaned in 2015/16, 2962 books were loaned in 2014/15 and 753 books loaned in 2013/14. In addition, we celebrated the achievement of 40 pupils who became word millionaires in 2016/17 and 12 of these pupils were multi-millionaires. This is a 50% increase in word millionaires from the previous year.