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Pupil Premium / Disadvantaged Learners 2021-22

At Lipson, we systematically and strategically pursue the means of ‘levelling the playing field’ for our Pupil Premium students; they are threaded throughout everything we do. Our integrated approach includes multi-impact strategies - starting at a classroom level from Y7 to 13 across the school with teaching and learning - that remedy the specific deficits presented by our Pupil Premium students. This is, however, never a generic, sweeping approach. Rather, our practice has a diagnostic basis and is underpinned by a detailed knowledge of recent research into trends in how disadvantage manifests itself. Our coaching system has a an intense focus in high-impact action steps that ensure the active engagement and progress of all students on an equal basis despite barriers to learning:

Targeted, impactful strategies such as study, support, mentoring, tutor interventions, etc form the focus of our PP spending, but so too does an abiding awareness of the importance of aspiration and self-perception. Through our ambitious Enrichment Mondays we offer a diverse plethora of extra-curricular clubs ranging from outdoors activities such as paddle-boarding to chemistry experiments. In engaging with experiences beyond those at home, and in structured positive non-work based interaction with peers and staff, our students see themselves differently, as adventurous, as able to move out of their comfort zone. This, in turn, transforms the student mind-set, enabling them to see themselves as becoming rounded adults who can aim higher than they previously expected. Our Pupil Premium funding provides targeted support to ensure that all students can participate in this programme, regardless of any personal financial limitations.

Plymouth is within the top 20% of the most deprived districts in England. Two areas in Plymouth fall into the top 1% of the most deprived areas in the country, Lipson’s catchment area is in this category. We have an acute awareness of the moral and practical responsibilities that are entailed in educating children and young people within this context, and so to ensure that our practice and methods are always as impactful as they possibly can be, we now place Teaching and Learning, aspiration and research and evidence-based strategies at the forefront of what we do, even appointing a Research Lead who leads a widely attended CPD group focused on disadvantage. There is never a “one size fits all” approach at Lipson, rather, there is a research-based inventory of strategies that are applied academically, pastorally and in enrichment based on identified needs, and blended into general practice where they would naturally benefit all students.

According to recent research in this area, common barriers to learning for disadvantaged children can be: less support at home; deficits in reading age, language and communication skills; lack of confidence and aspiration owing to limited experiences and the pervading narrative at home; more frequent behaviour difficulties; hunger, growth and concomitant concentration difficulties; mental and emotional health difficulties; stress and trauma; and attendance and punctuality issues. There may also be complex family situations that prevent children from flourishing. The challenges are varied and there is no “one size fits all”. We have a Pupil Premium funded Breakfast Club, and our Research Lead and SEND and Safeguarding Team are working on a trauma-informed practice initiative to be embedded in Individual Learning Plans where needed. Through Class Charts seating plans, all staff are informed of PP status and other needs immediately through labelling and can quickly access links to more detailed information and advised methods of support. As such, all staff have a comprehensive knowledge of their disadvantaged students, drawing on the same information data-base used by pastoral staff. The key to our Pupil Premium approach is that our strategies and policies interact: they support and strengthen each other. For instance, our spending on our whole-school Guided Reading programme is in turn supported by our Action Step ‘Give Them The Words’, a method specifically chosen to tackle the word deficit experienced by a large number of disadvantaged students. 

Our school will:

  • Have a designated Senior Leader who is part of the Trust Disadvantaged Network and contributes to termly review of impact and the sharing of best practice. (Neil Dyke/Tom Goodman)
  • Have a named Governor for Disadvantaged. Governors will be updated through Governors meetings throughout the year and Disadvantaged Governor will make termly visits into school to review our progress (Kate Lyon PP Governor).
  • Have a costed Pupil Premium Strategy that uses a consistent framework based on the three areas of need identified through the EEF research. This plan will be available on the website and reviewed termly by senior leaders and Governors, which is scrutinised by SLT and our Research Lead. 
  • Contribute to Disadvantaged peer reviews and will also undertake an external review every 3 years.
  • Provide funding for DS to access extra-curricular opportunities and ensure they are represented in every aspect of school life, alongside evaluations of engagement and take-up.
  • Ensure every aspect of the school’s KPIs have a reporting mechanism for Disadvantage such as, attendance, behaviour, progress and attainment. Each KPI’s is forensically analysed throughout the year to ensure no DS pupil is being left behind without the appropriate intervention being implemented through our inclusion team.

In addition, we will use the following guiding principles as part of our work in supporting Disadvantaged children:

  • We know that excellent teaching is at the heart of disadvantaged learners’ success: supported by our ambitious learning culture, our pedagogy, knowledge-rich, cohesive curriculum, consistent routines, feedback, high expectations and strong knowledge of individuals can and do make a difference to our most vulnerable students.
  • We will continue to improve teaching through the implementation of incremental coaching, which has actionable steps that are focussed on questioning and explanation. 
  • We know that excellent teaching is adaptive and meets the needs of the learner: teachers engage with incremental coaching and evidence-informed approaches to refine, develop and improve in order to ensure our learners achieve their potential. We understand the importance of subject mastery and always seek to develop subject knowledge and expertise.
  • We address financial and practical barriers to learning and enrichment: we know how parents or carers can apply for bursaries to support access to activities and enrichment opportunities.
  • All staff are aware of the disadvantaged students they teach, tutor or mentor: we consciously build strong relationships with these students, gaining knowledge of their subject strengths and areas for development, their individual contexts and aspirations.
  • We focus relentlessly on developing them as individuals: their talents, their academic endeavours and acknowledge and address the unique barriers they face.
  • At the front of our minds we remember that we are powerful advocates: we have a responsibility to ensure that every disadvantaged student is prioritised for enriching academic and extra- curricular opportunities that challenge and inspire them.
  • We develop disadvantaged students as leaders in our community: we believe in them, even when they don’t believe in themselves; we prioritise them at every opportunity, proactively encourage them to take on leadership roles and ensure they develop the skills in order for them to be successful.
  • We offer opportunities for independent practice: we explicitly teach students learning habits, which are embedded in lessons and monitor their success throughout their school career and intervene, where necessary, to support progress.
  • We raise aspirations and focus on the future: we provide guidance and support that allow our students to explore opportunities they may not have considered. Students are prioritised for careers advice and work experience. We develop strong links with universities and businesses in order to encourage all students to broaden their horizons.

We understand that excellent attendance is fundamental to student success: we intervene early and positively when students are absent and ensure that any barriers to excellent attendance are addressed.