The Pursuit of Purging the Gap for Pupil Premium Students by @ASTSupportaali


In August 2014 I took over the responsibility of Pupil Premium funding; its allocation, use and impact. I therefore wanted to share with you some of my thoughts… and learn from many of you? My hope/idea is to…

“…Use the collective knowledge we have out there in the big world of social media, to share some of the inspiring, effective strategies that are put in place, to help reduce/close/narrow the gap for Pupil Premium/Free School Meal Students.”

Within the padlet/document add any information/ideas/suggestions/thoughts about something either you are in charge of, know of, or your school is involved in to raise the attainment of Pupil Premium Students.

What is Pupil Premium?

In April 2011 the coalition government put in place the Pupil Premium funding. It is given to schools in addition to their main school funding. Currently the government has invested around £2.5 billion pounds, which works out at around 8% of the whole education budget! I am charge of a budget of around £450,000 including Catch Up funding too. By the 1st of September 2016, this has reduced to around £330,000. Not because we have fewer students that are eligible, but more to do with the changes in thresholds and the ease of applying for FSM for example.

Schools ultimately have the freedom to spend the Pupil Premium Grant in any way they think will best support the raising of attainment in English and Maths for these most disadvantaged vulnerable pupils. (We now have to call them disadvantaged, not vulnerable. Your 2013-2014 RAISE data will show this.)

Pupil Premium and Pupil Premium Plus (see below) funds are not ring fenced, and should not be distributed as a child by child basis. (Unless of course you have very few in number and you are able to manage the spending in this way.)

The Pupil Premium Grant can be used on a variety of interventions personalised to the needs of pupils. These interventions schools put in place should be allocated after looking at the gap(s) students currently have, maybe a better way to describe the gaps may be what barriers to learning the students are facing. The aim of the additional money being spent should be to put in place, procedures, protocols and practices that range from help with the cost of uniform, trips and other educational essentials to level the ‘playing field’. The support could include providing one to one tuition with a specialist tutor. Also, running group interventions to enable all pupils to reach their potential. Funding could be allocated to paying the cost of the school’s pastoral/teaching support staff who work with disadvantaged students and their families on a day to day basis.

Important to note: schools can argue that meeting the emotional needs of students is an important pre-cursor to raising their attainment in English and Maths and therefore money can be allocated to help aid more of a holistic development of the young person that should enable these individuals to progress with their learning.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 17.54.27

Each year, all schools have a statutory duty to document their allocated money and the impact it has had. A review of the outcomes of how the Pupil Premium grant was spent should be uploaded to the school website.

There is no national framework on this; schools can do this anyway they like. Some are better than others. Some Local Authorities may have created a template…

However, check out the Pupil Premium Awards website for some information…

For Example- An extract from a school website…

In the year 2013/14 data suggests that outcomes for our more disadvantaged vulnerable students are again pleasing, sustaining the progress of last year. At our school, the gap between those in receipt of the Pupil Premium grant make progress which is favorable in comparison with schools both locally and nationally, although our aim is, as ever, to close any gap completely. Looking forward, we are planning to increase small group work and one to one tuition in literacy and especially numeracy, building on the prior attainment these disadvantaged vulnerable students have when they join us from our feeder primary schools.

The reports ideally should tell us:

  • Who was the money allocated for. The exact number of pupils.
  • Why/expected outcome- what was the aim of the money being spent in this way.
  • Why/rationale- why was it thought this money would be helpful in raising attainment. What is it based on? (Research?)
  • Impact/Evidence- has the money made a difference and if so how…

Essentially it is a good idea to mark these targets SMART. Otherwise it will be difficult to evaluate…

I have let all areas know they will be expected to assess the impact of the money I have allocated to them for the students… It is also a good idea to actually let areas know this money has been assigned to them!

Ultimately the government is concerned with the data, the figures, the outcomes, what has actually happened. Has your money made a difference. Have results improved. Has the gap reduced…

For example:

Main threshold measure (Y11 students achieving 5A*-C English and Maths)

  • PP students achieved 43% 5 A*C inc. English and Maths (compared to 35% in 2013) – an increase of 8% and 10% above the National Average.
  • Non PP students achieved 62% 5A*C inc. English and Maths- this is a gap of 19%. Reduced from 29% in 2013.
  • A 16% increase in PP students achieving this benchmark since 2011

This PP report has now been superseded by the necessity to have a PP Strategy. Scroll to the bottom of this post to find out more!


Service Children:

Children who have parents in the armed forces are supported through the Service Child premium which for 2014-15 will be set also be given additional funding. This will be for £300 per pupil.

All other Pupil Premium grants are for £935 in a secondary school in England and Wales.

Pupil Premium Plus:

From April 2014, children who are looked after or adopted (parents of adopted children have until 31st of January 2015 to contact their school in order to access funds for extra support via Pupil Premium Plus), will attract a higher rate of funding than children from low-income families. The is known as the Pupil Premium Plus scheme.  This equates to £1,900 per student for 2014-15. This additional funding is allocated to students to reflect the unique challenges they face at school, where they may find it more difficult to keep up with their peers at both primary and secondary level.

For more information published by the Government on these schemes, click here.

Other Information:

  • It is important to note here that this funding goes into the whole school budget, it is the responsibility of the school to filter out this money to where the support is needed.
  • A Pupil bremium lead should not be the single entity that decides on where Pupil Premium money should be spent. They should work collaboratively with Teachers, Heads of Department, Senior Leadership Team, the School Business Manager and so on.
  • Pupil Premium money shouldn’t be used to top up a lack of funding in other areas. The fundamental principle of raising attainment in English and Maths for our most disadvantaged students should always ring through any initiative that is implemented.
  • What diet of subjects do your Pupil Premium students currently have? Is it academic enough?
  • Who challenges the hopes and aspirations of your Pupil Premium Students?
  • What support is there for these students before they come to your school? Do you work with your local feeder schools?
  • What are the commonalities within your Pupil Premium cohort?
  • What are the barriers?
  • Get buy in from your subject leaders. Train them. Get them to drive any change?
  • Send teachers on visits, pair them up with schools, get them to challenge the cycle.
  • Make the whole school RAISE data available and accessible to all.
  • I have recently been reading the below book! Which shares lots of really useful suggestions…

Also, thank you so much to @MaryMyatt for ALL her help!

Here are some suggestions on how to allocate your money?

Based on EEF Toolkit. (I.E your money should be spent on evidence informed items.)

Expenditure can be separated in the following categories:

Think about whether your allocations are whole school or individual needs? Are they short or long term?

pp strat


Updated with some ideas from my 2016-2017 spending. Items with a strike through are things we are no longer doing.

Literacy Support/Numeracy Support (This is why the PP grant was actually set up!)

  •   Additional time- 1 hour per teacher PPA time in English and Maths (Feedback)

It was very difficult to establish the root impact of giving this additional time and also, it took more time ensuring this time was used primarily for PP students. The theory is strong, give teachers more planning time who teach more PP heavy classes, but difficult to assess the impact of this.

  •   Additional Teacher- English and Maths

We have also added a PP champion, a member of support staff, working from 8-4pm, to help manage and support the PP provision for students, including before and after school.

  •   Revision classes

These are aimed at underachieving students, but PP students are chased primarily.

  •   Easter School
  •   Making The Difference Dinner

We used to run a separate evening for PP students and the core subject leads ran an additional evening for all others, we are now amalgamating these evenings, with a relentless drive to get the PP students and parents in, with some time being dedicated for them individually in that evening.

  •   7* nurture group

We have added this provision in Year 8 now too- 8*nurture group

  •   Gifted and Talented provision

I have increased the allocation of spend in this area.

  •   Ks3 Literacy and Numeracy Interventions (Comprehension Strategies.)

Additional therapies and interventions (Meta-cognition and Self Regulation)

  •   School counsellors

We initially had 3 counsellors working every day of the week, a staffing reviewing meant we reduced this to 3 days a week. In this years allocations I have increased this to 5 days again

  •   College Assistants

We have now reformed the structure and reduced the PP direct allocation to the pastoral system.

  •   Mentoring, (Mentoring)

`We are hiring and training sixth formers to do this too.

  •   College Leaders

We have a Year leader and Assistant Year leader system in place now

  •   Careers Advisor
  •   Pupil Premium Lead

We have removed the payment of this coming from the PP allocation as we feel this is the schools responsibility to cover.

  •   Cheney Plus

Increased this provision, to reduced exclusions and promote more inclusion for additional needs

  •   Attendance Manager
  •   Transport
  •   LAC TA lead
  •   Clothing/Uniform
  •   Humanutopia Involvement

Classroom Support

  •   Academic Mentors, (Social and Emotional Learning),
  •   Education Inclusion Tutor
  •   Teaching Assistants (1:1 support)- This however is primarily funding from the SEND budget only.

However, we are putting some TAs through NVQ qualifications run by The Key in teaching Low Attaining and Vulnerable students and increasing their hours from 8-4pm to create more wrap around care. We have also created Department TAs structure, where faculties can direct their TAs to support the under performing students they see fit.

  •   Specialist Literacy Team

We have also included Accelerated Reader programme for all of Year 7

  •   External Providers
  •   School Activities
  •   Ingredients for DT
  •   PE kit
  •   Breakfast club
  •   Summer School, (Summer School)
  •   College courses
  •   Transition Process

Educational Visits,

  •   Coach/Mini Bus Hire
  •   Enrichment/GCSE Course trips

Is there enough provision for teachers or teaching in this allocation? Is there enough training? Is the money being spent on areas that will have the most impact? I don’t feel I am focusing enough on the quality of teaching and learning… but isnt that what we do daily? All Year? But, then why still a GAP? These questions were being asked by myself in 2014, now I can say, with numerous CPD sessions being funded and focussed on behaviour for learning, relationships and subject knowledge I think we are doing much more on QFT angle for PP students.


good teaching



  1. The best book to help students in high school and college is, “Straight A at Stanford and on to Harvard. How to learn faster and think better.” by Peter Rogers MD.

    It shows how to make learning more concrete, memorable and fun.

    Shows techniques used by top students at Stanford and medical school.

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