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Speech and Language in the Classroom

The Blog

Friday, 12 August 2016

Education Update: 'Funding for Disadvantaged Pupils’ Report, by Jo Chessum, Specialist Teacher

Approximate reading time: 2 mins, 30 secs.

With Pupil Premium children being a key focus of Ofsted Inspections, here’s a summary of the recent Funding for Disadvantaged Pupils’ Report published in September 2015.

The report shows that the funding has narrowed the gap for both primary and secondary aged pupils. However, the gap has remained large and progress has been uneven across the country. Although there is a growing evidence base for ‘what works’, the report claims that more needs to be done to encourage schools to use and share ‘best practice’. The report goes on to suggest that Pupil Premium Reviews should be mandatory for schools that fail to evidence effective use of the funding.

Lack of parental engagement has been identified by many schools as a significant barrier to closing the attainment gap. The report suggests that very few schools are using the Pupil Premium to address this and that clear guidance is required on ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’!
Only 37% of schools recommended for a Pupil Premium Review actually had one. Disadvantaged pupils do better in schools where they are present in very high or very low numbers. Only one third of schools fully adhere to the requirements of the Pupil Premium Annual Report.
Top Tip
Parental engagement has been identified as a significant barrier to closing the attainment gap but schools are not using Pupil Premium to address this. Here are some of the ideas we have seen used to engage ‘hard to reach’ parents. Why not try some out in your school?

• Staff greet parents at the school gate, putting faces to names.
• Parental Support Workers/Family Liaison Workers offer 1:1 or small group support.
Home visits to make contact outside of the school environment.
• Frequent text message updates to highlight children’s achievements.
• ‘Welcome to School’ room that feels more like a lounge than a meeting room.
• ‘Success Lounge’ for sharing positive experiences.
Workshops on phonics, language, writing, etc. to help parents understand what their child is learning.
Workshops on English, ICT, etc. to develop the parents’ own skill base.
Workshops on how to understand school reports, EHCPs, etc.
Out of school hours learning opportunities for children and their parents, both academic and fun!
Resources to support learning outside school.
Parent mentors through a ‘Parent Support Group’.
Parent-led workshops relating to personal experiences.
Child-led workshops to encourage parents to attend.

Read more: Narrowing the Gap

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