Quick Comment – What to do with your pupil premium funding?

How about wall maps for students’ bedrooms?

Many schools have discovered that deciding on the best way of using PP funding in your school is not as simple as at first appears. Among the measures adopted by the 2013 winner of the Pupil Premium Award for secondary schools, David Thomas, and his colleagues were:

  • buying wall maps of the world for PP students to stick on their bedroom or living room walls
  • explaining about classical myths, on the one hand; and how government works, on the other
  • and even buying a very loud alarm clock for one student who was habitually late for school.

The effect of such simple and cheap measures can be ‘absolutely magical’ in the enthusiasm they can generate among disadvantaged youngsters, Mr Thomas, who was assistant senior leader at Westminster Academy, told last year’s SSAT lecture and debate.

‘Fight the causes of the gaps in your school’

More broadly, he felt there were two main ways in which pupil premium money could be well invested: improving teaching – which benefits all children, but the disadvantaged more than other groups; and ‘fighting the causes of the gaps in your school.’

The curriculum is personalised through the extended school day, with students joining extra lessons where needed. These allow them to stretch the highest performers as well as support the lowest.

The alarm clock was chosen for a student who was often late for school although she was keen to learn once she got there. The alarm clock worked, perhaps as much because of the implication of the school’s action as its practical use. ‘You have to look for the causes for individual students,’ David Thomas believes.

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